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American Reformers Series 

William Lloyd Garrison 

The Abolitionist 



Author of Charles Sumner" 



Copyright 1891. bt 
{Printed in the United States of AmeristA 


To Mrs. Anna M. Day^ who has been a mother to 
my little gtrly and a sister to me^ this book is gratefully 
and affectionately dedicated^ by 

Thf Author. 


The author of this volume desires by way of 
preface to say just two things: — firstly, that it is his 
earnest hope that this record of a hero may be an aid 
to brave and true living in the Republic, so that the 
problems knocking at its door for solution may find 
the heads, the hands, and the hearts equal to the per- 
formance of the duties imposed by them upon the 
men and women of this generation. William Lloyd 
Garrison was brave and true. Bravery and truth 
were the secret of his marvelous career and achieve- 
ments. May his countrymen and countrywomen 
imitate his example and be brave and true, not alone 
in emergent moments, but in everyday things as 

So much for the author's firstly, now for his sec- 
ondly, which is to acknowledge his large indebted- 
ness in the preparation of this book to that store- 
house of anti-slavery material, the story of the life of 
William Lloyd Garrison by his children. Out of its 
garnered riches he has filled his sack. 

Hyde Park, Mass., May lo, 1891. 


Dedication : in 

Preface v 

Chapter I. 

The Father of the Man ii 

Chapter II. 

The Man Hears a Voice: Samuel, Samuel ! 38 

Chapter III. 

The Man Begins his Ministry 69 


Chapter IV. 

The Hour and the Man 92 

Chapter V. 

The Day of Small Things no 

Chapter VI. 

The Heavy World is Moved 118 

Chapter VII. 

Master Strokes 133 


Chapter VIII. 
Colorphobia 157 

Chapter IX. 

Agitation and Repression 170 

Chapter X. 

Between the Acts 192 

Chapter XI. 

Mischief Let Loose 208 

Chapter XII. 

Flotsam and Jetsam 233 

Chapter XIII. 
The Barometer Continues to Fall 242 

Chapter XIV. 
Brotherly Love Fails, and Ideas Abound 263 

Chapter XV. 

Random Shots 292 

Chapter XVI. 
The Pioneer Makes a New and Startling Departure. . . 306 

Chapter XVII. 
As in a Looking Glass 319 

Chapter XVIII. 
The Turning of a Long Lane. . . . „ . . 335 


Chapter XIX. 
Face to Face 356 

Chapter XX. 

The Death-Grapple 370 

Chapter XXI. 
The Last 385 

Index 397 




WiT.LiAM Lloyd Garrison was born in Newbury- 
port, Massachusetts, December lo, 1805. Forty years 
before, Daniel Palmer, his great-grandfather, emi- 
grated from Massachusetts and settled with three 
sons and a daughter on the St. John River, in Nova 
Scotia. The daughter's name was Mary, and it was 
she who was to be the future grandmother of our 
hero. One of the neighbors of Daniel Palmer was 
Joseph Garrison, who was probably an Englishman. 
He was certainly a bachelor. The Acadian solitude 
of five hundred acres and Mary Palmer's charms 
proved too much for the susceptible heart of 
Joseph Garrison. He wooed and won her, and on 
his thirtieth birthday she became his wife. The 
bride herself was but twenty-three, a woman of 
resources and of presence of mind, as she needed to 
be in that primitive settlement. Children and cares 
came apace to the young wife, and we may be sure 
confined her more and more closely to her house. 
But in the midst of a fast-increasing family and of 



multiplying cares a day's outing did occasionally 
come to the busy housewife, when she would go 
down the river to spend it at her father's farm. 
Once, ten years after her marriage, she had a narrow 
escape on one of those rare days. She had started 
in a boat with her youngest child, Abijah, and a lad 
who worked in her household. It was spring and 
the St. John was not yet clear of ice. Higher up the 
river the ice broke that morning and came floating 
down with the current. The boat in which Mary 
Garrison and her baby rode was overtaken by the 
fragments and wrecked. The mother with her child 
sought refuge on a piece of ice and was driven shore- 
ward. Wrapping Abijah in all the clothes she could 
spare she threw him ashore. She and the lad fol- 
lowed by the aid of an overhanging willow bough. 
The baby was unharmed, for she had thrown him 
into a snow-bank. But the perils of the river gave 
place to the perils of the woods. In them Mary 
Garrison wandered with her infant, who was no less 
a personage than the father of William Lloyd Garri- 
son, until at length she found the hut of a friendly 
Indian, who took her in and " entertained her with 
his best words and deeds, and the next morning 
conducted her safely to her father's." 

The Palmers were a hardy, liberty-loving race of 
farmers, and Joseph Garrison was a man of unusual 
force and independence of character. The life which 
these early settlers lived was a life lived partly 
on the land and partly on the river. They were 
equally at home with scythe or oar. Amid such 
terraqueous conditions it was natural enough that 
the children should develop a passion for the 



sea. Like ducks many of them took to the water 
and became sailors. Abijah was a sailor. The 
amphibious habits of boyhood gave to his man- 
hood a restless, roving character. Like the ele- 
ment which he loved he was in constant motion. 
He was a man of gifts both of mind and body. 
There was besides a strain of romance and adventure 
in his blood. By nature and his seafaring life he 
probably craved strong excitement. This craving 
was in part appeased no doubt by travel and drink. 
He took to the sea and he took to the cup. But he 
was more than a creature of appetites, he was a man 
of sentiment. Being a man of sentiment what should 
he do but fall in love. The woman who inspired his 
love was no ordinary woman, but a genuine Acadian 
beauty. She was a splendid specimen of woman- 
kind. Tall she was, graceful and admirably propor- 
tioned. Never before had Abijah in all his wander- 
ings seen a creature of such charms of person. Her 
face matched the attractions of her form and her mind 
matched the beauty of her face. She possessed a 
nature almost Puritanic in its abhorrence of sin, and 
in the strength of its moral convictions. She feared 
to do wrong more than she feared any man. With 
this supremacy of the moral sense there went along 
singular firmness of purpose and independence of 
character. When a mere slip of a girl she was called 
upon to choose between regard for her religious con- 
victions and regard for her family. It happened in 
this wise. Fanny Lloyd's parents were Episcopa- 
lians, who were inclined to view with contempt fel- 
low-Christians of the Baptist persuasion. To have 
a child of theirs identify herself with this despised 



sect was one of those crosses which they could not 
and would not bear. But Fanny had in a fit of girlish 
frolic entered one of the meetings of these low-caste 
Christians. What she heard changed the current of 
her life. She knew thenceforth that God was no 
respecter of persons, and that the crucified Nazarene 
looked not upon the splendor of ceremonies but upon 
the thoughts of the heart of His disciples. Here in a 
barn, amid vulgar folk, and uncouth, dim surround- 
ings, He had appeared. He, her Lord and Master. 
He had touched her with that white unspeakable 
appeal. The laughter died upon the fair girlish face 
and prayer issued from the beautiful lips. If vulgar 
folk, the despised Baptists, were good enough for the 
Christ, were they not good enough for her? Among 
them she had felt His consecrating touch and among 
them she determined to devote herself to Him. Her 
parents commanded and threatened but Fanny Lloyd 
was bent on obeying the heavenly voice of duty rather 
than father and mother. They had threatened that 
if she allowed herself to be baptised they would turn 
her out of doors. Fanny was baptised and her parents 
made good the threat. Their home was no longer 
her home. She had the courage of her conviction — 
ability to suffer for a belief. 

Such was the woman who subsequently became the 
wife of Abijah Garrison, and the mother of one of 
the greatest moral heroes of the century. Abijah 
followed the sea, and she for several years with an 
increasing family followed Abijah. First from one 
place and then another she glided after him in her 
early married life. He loved her and his little ones 
but the love of travel and change was strong within 



him. He was ever restless and changeful. During 
one of his roving fits he emigrated with his family 
from Nova Scotia to the United States. It was in 
the spring of 1805 that he and they landed in New- 
buryport. The following December his wife pre- 
sented him with a boy, whom they called William 
Lloyd Garrison. Three years afterward Abijah 
deserted his wife and children. Of the causes which 
led to this act nothing is now known. Soon after 
his arrival in Newburyport he had found employ- 
ment. He made several voyages as sailing-master in 
1805-8 from that port. He was apparently during 
these years successful after the manner of his craft. 
But he was not a man to remain long in one place. 
What was the immediate occasion of his strange 
behavior we can only conjecture. Possibly an 
increasing love for liquor had led to domestic differ- 
ences, which his pleasure-loving nature would not 
brook. Certain it was that he was not like his wife. 
He was not a man in whom the moral sense was 
uppermost. He was governed by impulse and she 
by fixed moral and religious principles. He drank 
and she abhorred the habit. She tried first moral 
suasion to induce him to abandon the habit, and 
once, in a moment of wifely and motherly indigna- 
tion, she broke up one of his drinking parties in her 
house by trying the efficacy of a little physical 
suasion. She turned the company out of doors and 
smashed the bottles of liquor. This was not the 
kind of woman whom Abijah cared to live with as a 
wife. He was not the sort of man whom the most 
romantic love could attach to the apron-strings of 
any woman. And in the matter of his cup he prob- 



ably saw that this was what he would be obliged to 
do as the condition of domestic peace. The condi- 
tion he rejected and, rejecting it, rejected and cast-off 
his wife and family and the legal and moral responsi- 
bilities of husband and father. 

Bitter days now followed and Fanny Garrison 
became acquainted with grief and want. She had 
the mouths of three children to fill — the youngest an 
infant at her breast. The battle of this broken- 
hearted woman for their daily bread was as heroic as 
it was pathetic. She still lived in the little house on 
School street where Lloyd was born. The owner, 
Martha Farnham, proved herself a friend indeed to 
the poor harassed soul. Now she kept the wolf from 
the door by going out as a monthly nurse — " Aunt 
Farnham " looking after the little ones in her 
absence. She was put to all her possibles during 
those anxious years of struggle and want. Even 
Lloyd, wee bit of a boy, was pressed into the service. 
She would make molasses candies and send him upon 
the streets to sell them. But with all her industry 
and resource what could she do with three children 
weighing her down in the fierce struggle for exis- 
tence, rendered tenfold fiercer after the industrial 
crisis preceding and following the War of 1812. 
Then it was that she was forced to supplement her 
scant earnings with refuse food from the table of " a 
certain mansion on State street." It was Lloyd who 
went for this food, and it was he who had to run the 
gauntlet of mischievous and inquisitive children 
whom he met and who longed for a peep into his tin 
pail. But the future apostle of non-resistance was 
intensely resistant, we may be sure, on such occa- 



sions. For, as his children have said in the story of 
his life : " Lloyd was a thorough boy, fond of games 
and of all boyish sport. Barefooted, he trundled his 
hoop all over Newburyport ; he swam in the Merri- 
mac in summer, and skated on it in winter ; he was 
good at sculling a boat ; he played at bat and ball 
and snowball, and sometimes led the ' Southend 
boys ' against the Northenders in the numerous con- 
flicts between the youngsters of the two sections ; he 
was expert with marbles. Once, with a playmate, he 
swam across the river to ' Great Rock,' a distance of 
three-fourths of a mile and effected his return against 
the tide ; and once, in winter, he nearly lost his life 
by breaking through the ice on the river and reached 
the shore only after a desperate struggle, the ice 
yielding as often as he attempted to climb upon its 
surface. It was favorite pastime of the boys of that 
day to swim from one wharf to another adjacent, 
where vessels from the West Indies discharged 
their freight of molasses, and there to indulge in 
stolen sweetness, extracted by a smooth stick inserted 
through the bung-hole. When detected and chased, 
they would plunge into the water and escape to the 
wharf on which they had left their clothes." Such 
was the little man with a boy's irrepressible passion 
for frolic and fun. His passion for music was hardly 
less pronounced, and this he inherited from his 
mother, and exercised to his heart's content in the 
choir of the Baptist Church. These were the bright 
lines and spots in his strenuous young life. He 
played and sang the gathering brood of cares out of 
his own and his mother's heart. He needed to play 
and he needed to sing to charm away from his spirit 



the vulture of poverty. That evil bird hovered ever 
over his childhood. It was able to do many hard things 
to him, break up his home, sunder him from his 
mother, force him at a tender age to earn his bread, 
still there was another bird in the boy's heart, which 
sang out of it the shadow and into it the sunshine. 
Whatever was his lot there sang the bird within his 
breast, and there shone the sun over his head and 
into his soul. The boy had unconsciously drawn 
around him a circle of sunbeams, and how could the 
vulture of poverty strike him with its wings or stab 
him with its beak. When he was about eight he was 
parted from his mother, she going to Lynn, and he, 
wee mite of a man, remaining in Newburyport. It was 
during the War of 1812, and pinching times, when 
Fanny Garrison was at her wit's end to keep the wolf 
from devouring her three little ones and herself into 
the bargain. With what tearing of the heart-strings 
she left Lloyd and his little sister Elizabeth 
behind we can now only imagine. She had 
no choice, poor soul, for unless she toiled they 
would starve. So with James, her eldest son, she 
went forth into the world to better theirs and her 
own condition. Lloyd went to live in Deacon Ezekiel 
Bartlett's family. They were good to the little fellow, 
but they, too, were poor. The Deacon, among other 
things, sawed wood for a living, and Lloyd hardly 
turned eight years, followed him in his peregrinations 
from house to house doing with his tiny hands what 
he could to help the kind old man. Soon Fanny 
Lloyd's health, which had supported her as a magic 
staff in all those bitter years since Abijah's desertion 
of wife and children, began in the battle for bread in 



Lynn, to fail her. And so, in her weakness, and with 
a great fear in her heart for her babies, when she was 
gone from them into the dark unknown forever, she 
bethought her of making them as fast as possible self- 
supporting. And what better way was there than to 
have the boys learn some trade. James she had 
already apprenticed to learn the mystery of shoe- 
making. And for Lloyd she now sent and appren- 
ticed him, too, to the same trade. Oh! but it was 
hard for the little man, the heavy lapstone and all 
this thumping and pounding to make a shoe. Oh ! 
how the stiff waxen threads cut into his soft fingers, 
how all his body ached with the constrained 
position and the rough work of shoemaking. But 
one day the little nine-year-old, who was " not much 
bigger than a last," was able to produce a real shoe. 
Then it was probably that a dawning consciousness 
of power awoke within the child's mind. He him- 
self by patience and industry had created a some- 
thing where before was nothing. The eye of the boy 
got for the first time a glimpse of the man, who was 
still afar off, shadowy in the dim approaches of the 
hereafter. But the work proved altogether beyond 
the strength of the boy. The shoemaker's bench was 
not his place, and the making of shoes for his kind 
was not the mission for which he was sent into the 
world. And now again poverty, the great scene-shif- 
ter, steps upon the stage, and Fanny Lloyd and her 
two boys are in Baltimore on that never-ending quest 
for bread. She had gone to work in a shoe factory 
established by an enterprising Yankee in that cny. 
The work lasted but a few months, when the pro- 
prietor failed and the factory was closed. In a 



Strange city mother and children were left without 
employment. In her anxiety and distress a new^ 
trouble, the greatest and most poignant since Abijah's 
desertion, wrung her with a supreme grief. James, 
the light and pride of her life, had run away from 
his master and gone to sea. Lloyd, poor little home- 
sick Lloyd, was the only consolation left the broken 
heart. And he did not want to live in Baltimore, 
and longed to return to Newburyport. So, mindful 
of her child's happiness, and all unmindful of her 
own, she sent him from her to Newburyport, which 
he loved inexpressibly. He was now in his eleventh 
year. Very happy he was to see once more the 
streets and landmarks of the old town — the river, 
and the old house where he was born, and the church 
next door and the school-house across the way and 
the dear friends whom he loved and who loved him. 
He went again to live with the Bartletts, doing with 
his might all that he could to earn his daily bread, 
and to repay the kindness of the dear old deacon and 
his family. It was at this time that he received his 
last scrap of schooling. He was, as we have seen, but 
eleven, but precious little of that brief and tender 
time had he been able to spend in a school-house. 
He had gone to the primary school, where, as his 
children tell us, he did not show himself " an apt 
scholar, being slow in mastering the alphabet, and 
surpassed even by his little sister Elizabeth." During 
his stay with Deacon Bartlett the first time, he was 
sent three months to the grammar-school, and now 
on his return to this good friend, a few more weeks 
were added to his scant school term. They proved 
the last of his school-days, and the boy went forth 



from the little brick building on the Mall to finish 
his education in the great workaday world, under those 
^tern old masters, poverty and experience. By and by 
Lloyd was a second time apprenticed to learn a trade. 
It was to a cabinetmaker in Haverhill, Mass. He made 
good progress in the craft, but his young heart still 
turned to Newburyport and yearned for the friends 
left there. He bore up against the homesickness as 
best he could, and when he could bear it no longer, 
resolved to run away from the making of toy bureaus, 
to be once more with the Bartletts. He had partly 
executed this resolution, being several miles on the 
road to his old home, when his master, the cabinet- 
maker, caught up to him and returned him to Haver- 
hill. But when he heard the little fellow's story of 
homesickness and yearning for loved places and 
faces, he was not angry with him, but did presently 
release him from his apprenticeship. And so the boy 
to his great joy found himself again in Newburyport 
and with the good old wood-sawyer. Poverty and 
experience were teaching the child what he never 
could have learned in a grammar-school, a certain 
acquaintance with himself and the world around 
him. There was growing within his breast a self- 
care and a self-reliance. It was the autumn of 1818, 
when, so to speak, the boy's primary education in 
the school of experience terminated, and he entered on 
the second stage of his training under the same rough 
tutelage. At the age of thirteen he entered the office 
of the Newburyport Herald to learn to set types. 
At last his boy's hands had found work which his 
boy's heart did joy to have done. He soon mastered 
the compositor's art, became a remarkably rapid 



composer. As he set up the thoughts of others, he 
was not slow in discovering thoughts of his own 
demanding utterance. The printer's apprentice felt 
the stirrings of a new life. A passion for self-improve- 
ment took possession of him. He began to read the 
English classics, study American history, follow the 
currents of party politics. No longer could it be 
said of him that he was not an apt pupil. He was 
indeed singularly apt. His intelligence quickened 
marvelously. The maturing process was sudden 
and swift. Almost before one knows it the boy in 
years has become a man in judgment and character. 
This precipitate development of the intellectual life 
in him, produced naturally enough an appreciable 
enlargement of the ego. The young eagle had 
abruptly awakened to the knowledge that he possessed 
wings ; and wings were for use — to soar with. 
Ambition, the desire to mount aloft, touched and 
fired the boy's mind. As he read, studied, and 
observed, while his hands were busy with his work, 
there was a constant fluttering going on in the eyrie 
of his thoughts. By an instinct analogous to that 
which sends a duck to the water, the boy took to the 
discussion of public questions. It was as if an innate 
force was directing him toward his mission — the re- 
formation of great public wrongs. At sixteen he made 
his first contribution to the press. It was a discus- 
sion of a quasi-social subject, the relation of the 
sexes in society. He was at the impressionable age, 
when the rosy god of love is at his tricks. He was 
also at a stage of development, when boys are least 
attractive, when they are disagreeably virile, full of 
their own importance and the superiority of their sex. 


In the " Breach of the Marriage Promise," by An 
Old Bachelor," these signs of adolescence are by no 
means wanting, they are, on the contrary, distinctly 
present and palpable. But there were other signs 
besides these, signs that the youth had had his eyes 
wide open to certain difficulties which beset the 
matrimonial state and to the conventional steps 
which lead to it, and that he had thought quite 
soberly, if not altogether wisely upon them. The 
writer was verdant, to be sure, and self-conscious, 
and partial in his view of the relations of the sexes, 
but there was withal a serious purpose in the writing. 
He meant to expose and correct what he conceived 
to be reprehensible conduct on the part of the 
gentler sex, bad feminine manners. Just now he 
sees the man's side of the shield, a few years later he 
will see the woman's side also. He ungallantly con- 
cludes "to lead the '■single life^' and not," as he 
puts it, trouble myself about the ladies." A most 
sapient conclusion, considering that this veteran 
misogynist was but sixteen years old. During the 
year following the publication of this article, he plied 
his pen with no little industry — producing in all 
fifteen articles on a variety of topics, such as South 
American Affairs," "State Politics," "A Glance at 
Europe," etc., all of which are interesting now chiefly 
as showing the range of his growing intelligence, and 
as the earliest steps by which he acquired his later mas- 
tery of the pen and powerful style of composition. 
In a letter addressed to his mother about this time, 
the boy is full of Lloyd, undisguisedly proud of 
Lloyd, believes in Lloyd. " When I peruse them 
over " e. those fifteen communications to the 



press), " I feel absolutely astonished," he naively con- 
fesses, " at the different subjects which I have dis- 
cussed, and the style in which they are written. 
Indeed it is altogether a matter of surprise that I 
have met with such signal success, seeing I do not 
understand one single, rule of grammar, and having a 
very inferior education." The printer's lad was 
plainly not lacking in the bump of approbativeness, 
or the quality of self-assertiveness. The quick 
mother instinct of Fanny Garrison took alarm at the 
tone of her boy's letter. Possibly there was some- 
thing in Lloyd's florid sentences, in his facility of 
expression, which reminded her of Abijah. He, too, 
poor fellow, had had gifts in the use of the pen, and 
what had he done, what had he come to ? Had he 
not forsaken wife and children by first forsaking the 
path of holiness ? So she pricks the boy's bubble, 
and points him to the one thing needful — God in the 
soul. But in her closing words she betrays what we 
all along suspected, her own secret pleasure in her 
son's success, when she asks, " Will you be so kind 
as to bring on your pieces that you have written 
for me to see ? " Ah ! was she not every inch a 
mother, and how Lloyd did love her. But she was 
no longer what she had been. And no wonder, for 
few women have been called to endure such heavy 
burdens, fight so hopelessly the battle for bread, all 
the while her heart was breaking with grief. Disease 
had made terrible inroads upon her once strong and 
beautiful person. Not the shadow of the strength 
and beauty of her young womanhood remained. She 
was far away from her early home and friends, far 
away from her darling boy, in Baltimore. James, 



her pride, was at sea, Elizabeth, a sweet little maiden 
of twelve, had left her to take that last voyage 
beyond another sea, and Abijah, without one word 
of farewell, with the silence of long years unbroken, 
he, too, also ! had hoisted sail and was gone forever. 
And now in her loneliness and sorrow, knowing that 
she, too, must shortly follow, a great yearning rose 
up in her poor wounded heart to see once more her 
child, the comfort and stay of her bitter life. And 
as she had written to him her wish and longing, 
the boy went to her, saw the striking change, saw 
that the broken spirit of the saintly woman was day 
by day nearing the margin of the dark hereafter, 
into whose healing waters it would bathe and be 
whole again. The unspeakable experience of mother 
and son, during this last meeting is not for you and 
me, reader, to look into. Soon after Lloyd's return 
to Newburyport a cancerous tumor developed on her 
shoulder, from the effects of which she died Septem- 
ber 3, 1823, at the age of forty-five. More than a 
decade after her death her son wrote : " She has been 
dead almost eleven years ; but my grief at her loss is 
as fresh and poignant now as it was at that period ; " 
and he breaks out in praise of her personal charms in 
the following original lines : 

" She was the masterpiece of womankind — 
In shape and height majestically fine ; 
Her cheeks the lily and the rose combined ; 
Her lips — more opulently red than wine ; 
Her raven locks hung tastefully entwined ; 
Her aspect fair as Nature could design ; 
And then her eyes ! so eloquently bright ! 
An eagle would recoil before her light," 



The influence of this superb woman was a lasting 
power for truth and righteousness in the son's stormy 
life. For a whole year after her death, the grief of 
the printer's lad over his loss, seemed to have checked 
the activity of his pen. For during that period noth- 
ing of his appeared in the Herald. But after the sharp 
edge of his sorrow had worn off, his pen became 
active again in the discussion of public men and pub- 
lic questions. It was a period of bitter personal and 
political feuds and animosities. The ancient Federal 
party was in articulo mortis. The death-bed of a 
great political organization proves oftentimes the 
graveyard of lifelong friendships. For it is a scene 
of crimination and recrimination. And so it hap- 
pened that the partisans of John Adams, and the 
partisans of John Adams's old Secretary of State, 
Timothy Pickering, were in 1824 doing a thriving 
business in this particular line. Into this funereal 
performance our printer's apprentice entered with 
pick and spade. He had thus early a penchant for 
controversy, a soldier's scent for battle. If there was 
any fighting going on he proceeded directly to have 
a hand in it. And it cannot be denied that that hand 
was beginning to deal some manly and sturdy blows, 
whose resound was heard quite distinctly beyond 
the limits of his birthplace. His communications 
appeared now, not only in the Herald^ but in the 
Salem Gazette as well. Now it was the Adams-Pick- 
ering controversy, now the discussion of General 
Jackson as a presidential candidate, now the state of 
the country in respect of parties, now the merits of 
"American Writers," which afforded his 'prentice 
hand the requisite practice in the use of the pen. He 



had already acquired a perfect knowledge of type- 
setting and the mechanical makeup of a newspaper. 
During his apprenticeship he took his first lesson in 
the art of thinking on his feet in the presence of an 
audience. The audience to be sure were the mem- 
bers of a debating club, which he had organized. He 
was very ambitious and was doubtless looking for- 
ward to a political career. He saw the value of ex- 
tempore speech to the man with a future, and he 
wisely determined to possess himself of its advantage. 
He little dreamt, however, to what great use he was 
to devote it in later years. There were other points 
worth noting at this time, and which seemed to 
prophecy for him a future of distinction. He 
possessed a most attractive personality. His energy 
and geniality, his keen sense of humor, his social and 
bouyant disposition, even his positive and opinion- 
ated temper, were sources of popular strength to him. 
People were strongly drawn to him. His friends 
were devoted to him. He had that quality, which 
we vaguely term magnetic, the quality of attach- 
ing others to us, and maintaining over them the as- 
cendency of our character and ideas. 

In the midst of all this progress along so many 
lines, the days of his apprenticeship in the Herald 
office came to an end. He was just twenty. With true 
Yankee enterprise and pluck, he proceeded to do for 
himself what for seven years he had helped to do for 
another — publish a newspaper. And with a brave 
heart the boy makes his launch on the uncertain sea 
of local journalism and becomes editor and publisher 
of a real, wide-awake sheet, which he calls the Free 
Press. The paper was independent in politics and 



proved worthy of its name during the six months 
that Garrison sat in the managerial chair. Here is 
the tone which the initial number of the paper holds 
to the public: "As to the political course of the 
Free Press, it shall be, in the widest sense of the term, 
independent. The publisher does not mean by this, to 
rank amongst those who are of everybody's and of 
nobody's opinion; . . . nor one of whom the 
old French proverb says: // ne soit sur quel pied dan- 
ser. [He knows not on which leg to dance.] Its 
principles shall be open, magnanimous and free. It 
shall be subservient to no party or body of men; and 
neither the craven fear of loss, nor the threats of the 
disappointed, nor the influence of power, shall ever 
awe one single opinion into silence. Honest and fair 
discussion it will court; and its columns will be open 
to all temperate and intelligent communications 
emanating from whatever political source. In fine 
we will say with Cicero: * Reason shall prevail with 
him more than popular opinion.' They who like 
this avowal may extend their encouragement; and if 
any feel dissatisfied with it, they must act accord- 
ingly. The publisher cannot condescend to solicit 
their support." This was admirable enough in its 
way, but it was poor journalism some will say. And 
without doubt when judged by the common com- 
mercial standard it was poor journalism. In this 
view it is a remarkable production, but in another as- 
pect it is still more remarkable in that it took with 
absolute accuracy the measure of the man. As a 
mental likeness it is simply perfect. At no time dur- 
ing his later life did the picture cease to be an exact 
moral representation of his character. It seems quite 



unnecessary, therefore, to record that he proceeded 
immediately to demonstrate that it was no high 
sounding and insincere declaration. For in the 
second number, he mentions with that singular 
serenity, which ever distinguished him on such occa- 
sions, the discontinuance of the paper on account of 
matter contained in the first issue, by ten indignant 
subscribers. " Nevertheless," he adds, " our happi- 
ness at the loss of such subscribers is not a whit 
abated. We beg no man's patronage, and shall ever 
erase with the same cheerfulness that we insert the 
name of any individual. . . . Personal or politi- 
cal offence we shall studiously avoid — truth never'' 
Here was plainly a wholly new species of the genus 
homo in the editorial seat. What, expect to make a 
newspaper pay and not beg for patronage ? Why 
the very idea was enough to make newspaperdom 
go to pieces with laughter. Begging for patronage, 
howling for subscribers, cringing, crawling, changing 
color like the chameleon, howling for Barabbas or 
bellovvl;; L>: against Jesus, all these things must your 
newspaper do to prosper. On them verily hang the 
whole law and all the profits of modern journalism. 
This is what the devil of competition was doing in 
that world when William Lloyd Garrison entered it. 
It took him up into an exceedingly high mountain, we 
may be certain, and offered him wealth, position, and 
power, if he would do what all others were doing. And 
he would not. He went on editing and publishing 
his paper for six months regardful only of what his 
reason approved — regardless always of the disap- 
proval of others. Not once did he palter with his 
convictions or juggle with his self-respect for the 



sake of pelf or applause. His human horizon was 
contracted, to be sure. It could hardly be otherwise 
in one so young. His world was his country, and 
patriotism imposed limits upon his affections. "Our 
country, our whole country, and nothing but our 
country," was the ardent motto of the Free Press. 
The love of family comes, in the order of growth, be- 
fore the love of country ; and the love of country 
precedes the love of all mankind. " First the blade, 
then the ear, then the full corn in the ear," is the 
great law of love in the soul as of corn in the soil. Be- 
sides this contraction of the affections, there was also 
manifest in his first journalistic venture a deficiency 
in the organ of vision, a failure to see into things and 
their relations. What he saw he reported faithfully, 
suppressing nothing, adding nothing. But the ob- 
jects which passed across the disk of his editoral in- 
telligence were confined almost entirely to the 
surface of things, to the superficies of national 
life. He had not the ken at twenty to penetrate be- 
neath the happenings of current politics. Of the ex- 
istence of slavery as a supreme reality, we do not 
think that he then had the faintest suspicion. No 
shadow of its tremendous influence as a political 
power seemed to have arrested for a brief instant his 
attention. He could copy into his paper this 
atrocious sentiment which Edward Everett delivered 
in Congress, without the slightest comment or 
allusion. " Sir, I am no soldier. My habits and ed- 
ucation are very unmilitary, but there is no cause in 
which I would sooner buckle a knapsack on my 
back, and put a musket on my shoulder than that of 
putting down a servile insurrection at the South." 



The reason is plain enough. Slavery was a terra 
incognito to him then, a book of which he had not 
learned the ABC. Mr. Everett's language made 
no impression on him, because he had not the key to 
interpret its significance. What he saw, that he set 
down for his readers, without fear or favor. He had 
not seen slavery, knew nothing of the evil. Acquaint- 
ance with the deeper things of life, individual or 
national, comes only with increasing years, they are 
hardly for him who has not yet reached his majority. 
Slavery was the very deepest thing in the life of the 
nation sixty-four years ago. And if Garrison did not 
then so understand it, neither did his contemporaries, 
the wisest and greatest of them so understand it. 
The subject of all others which attracted his atten- 
tion, and kept his editorial pen busy, was the claim 
of Massachusetts for indemnity from the general gov- 
ernment, for certain disbursements made by her for 
the defence of her sea-coast during the war of 181 2. 
This matter, which forms but a mere dust point in 
the perspective of history, his ardent young mind 
mistook for a principal object, erected into a perma- 
nent question in the politics of the times. But the 
expenditure of enormous energies upon things of 
secondary and of even tertiary importance, to the 
neglect of others of prime and lasting interest, is 
supremely human. He was errant where all men go 
astray. But the schoolmaster of the nation was 
abroad, and was training this young man for the 
work he was born to do. These six months were, 
therefore, not wasted, for in the university of ex- 
perience he did ever prove himself an apt scholar. 
One lesson he had learned, which he never needed to 



relearn. Just what that lesson was, he tells in his 
valedictory to the subscribers of the Free Press^ as 
follows: **This is a time-serving age; and he who 
attempts to walk uprightly or speak honestly, can- 
not rationally calculate upon speedy wealth or pre- 
ferment." A sad lesson, to be sure, for one so young 
to learn so thoroughly. Perhaps some reader will 
say that this was cynical, the result of disappoint- 
ment. But it was not cynical, neither was it the re- 
sult of disappointment. It was unvarnished truth, 
and more's the pity, but truth it was none the less. 
It was one of those hard facts, which he of all men, 
needed to know at the threshold of his experience 
with the world. Such a revelation proves disastrous 
to the many who go down to do business in that 
world. Ordinary and weak and neutral moral con- 
stitutions are wrecked on this reef set in the human 
sea. Like a true mariner he had written it boldly on 
his chart. There at such and such a point in the voy- 
age for the golden fleece, were the rocks and the soul- 
devouring dragons of the way. Therefore, oh! my 
soul, beware. What, indeed, would this argonaut of 
the press take in exchange for his soul ? Certainly 
not speedy wealth nor preferment. Ah ! he could 
not praise where he ought to reprobate ; could not 
reprobate where praise should be the meed. He had 
no money and little learning, but he had a conscience 
and he knew that he must be true to that conscience, 
come to him either weal or woe. Want renders 
most men vulnerable, but to it, he appeared, at this 
early age, absolutely invulnerable. Should he and 
that almost omnipotent inquisitor, public opinion, 
ever in the future come into collision upon any prin- 



ciple of action, a keen student of human nature 
might forsee that the young recusant could never be 
starved into silence or conformity to popular 
standards. And with this stern, sad lesson treasured 
up in his heart, Garrison graduated from another 
room in the school-house of experience. All the dis- 
coveries of the young journalist were not of this 
grim character. He made another discovery alto- 
gether different, a real gem of its kind. The drag- 
net of a newspaper catches all sorts of poets and 
poetry, good, bad, and indifferent — oftener the bad 
and indifferent, rarely the good. The drag-net of the 
Free Press was no exception to this rule ; but, one 
day, it fetched up from the depths of the hard com- 
monplaces of our New England town life a genuine 
pearl. We will let Mr. Garrison tell the story in his 
own way: 

" Going up-stairs to my office, one day, I observed 
a letter lying near the door, to my address; which, on 
opening, I found to contain an original piece of poetry 
for my paper, the Free Press. The ink was very 
pale, the handwriting very small; and, having at that 
time a horror of newspaper original poetry — which 
has rather increased than diminished with the lapse 
of time — my first impulse was to tear it in pieces, 
without reading it; the chances of rejection, after its 
perusal, being as ninety-nine to one; . . . but sum- 
moning resolution to read it, I was equally surprised 
and gratified to find it above mediocrity, and so gave 
it a place in my journal. . . . As I was anxious to 
find out the writer, my post-rider, one day, divulged 
the secret, stating that he had dropped the letter in 
the manner described, and that it was written by a 



Quaker lad, named Whittier, who was daily at work 
on the shoemaker's bench, with hammer and lap- 
stone, at East Haverhill. Jumping into a vehicle, I 
lost no time in driving to see the youthful rustic 
bard, who came into the room with shrinking diffi- 
dence, almost unable to speak, and blushing like a 
maiden. Giving him some words of encouragement, 
I addressed myself more particularly to his parents, 
and urged them with great earnestness to grant him 
every possible facility for the development of his 
remarkable genius.'' 

Garrison had not only found a true poet, but a true 
friend as well, in the Quaker lad, John Greenleaf 
Whittier. The friendship which sprang up between 
the two was to last during the lifetime of the 
former. Neither of them in those days of small 
things could have possibly by any flight of the imagi- 
nation foreseen how their two lives, moving in par- 
allel lines, would run deep their shining furrows 
through one of the greatest chapters of human his- 
tory. But I am anticipating, and that is a vice of 
which no good storyteller ought to be guilty. So, 
then, let me incontinently return from this excursion 
and pursue the even tenor of my tale. 

Garrison had stepped down from his elevated posi- 
tion as the publisher and editor of the Free Press. 
He was without work, and, being penniless, it be- 
hooved him to find some means of support. With 
the instinct of the bright New England boy, he deter- 
mined to seek his fortunes in Boston. If his honesty 
and independence put him at a disadvantage, as pub- 
lisher and editor, in the struggle for existence, he 
had still his trade as a compositor to fall back upon 



As a journeyman printer he would earn his bread, 
and preserve the integrity of an upright spirit. And 
so without a murmur, and with cheerfulness and per- 
sistency, he hunted for weeks on the streets of Boston 
for a chance to set types. This hunting for a job in 
a strange city was discouraging enough. Twice be- 
fore had he visited the place, which was to be his 
future home. Once when on his way to Baltimore 
to see his mother, and once afterward when on a sort 
of pleasure tramp with three companions. But the 
slight knowledge which he was able to obtain of the 
town and its inhabitants under these circumstances 
did not now help him, when from office to office he 
went in quest of something to do. After many fail- 
ures and renewed searchings, he found what he was 
after, an opportunity to practice his trade. Business 
was dull, which kept our journeyman printer on the 
wing ; first at one and then at another printing office 
we find him setting types for a living during the 
year 1827. The winning of bread was no easy matter; 
but he was not ashamed to work, neither was he 
afraid of hard work. During this year, he found 
time to take a hand in a little practical politics. 
There was in July, 1827, a caucus of the Federal party 
to nominate a successor to Daniel Webster in the 
House of Representatives. Young Garrison attended 
this caucus, and made havoc of its cut and dried pro- 
gramme, by moving the nomination of Harrison 
Gray Otis, instead of the candidate, a Mr. Benjamin 
Gorham, agreed upon by the leaders. Harrison Gray 
Otis was one of Garrison's early and particular idols. 
He was, perhaps, the one Massachusetts politician 
whom the young Federalist had placed on a 



pedestal. And so on this occasion he went into the 
caucus with a written speech in his hat, eulogistic of 
his favorite. He had meant to have the speech at 
his tongue's end, and to get it off as if on the spur 
of the moment. But the speech stayed where it was 
put, in the speaker's hat, and failed to materialize 
where and when it was wanted on the speaker's 
tongue. As the mountain would not go to Mahomet, 
Mahomet like a sensible prophet went to the moun- 
tain. Our orator in imitation of this illustrious 
example, bowed to the inevitable and went to his 
mountain. Pulling his extempore remarks out of his 
hat, he delivered himself of them to such effect as to 
create quite an Otis sentiment in the meeting. This 
performance was, of course, a shocking offence in the 
eyes of those, whose plans it had disturbed. With 
one particular old fogy he got into something of a 
newspaper controversy in consequence. The " con- 
summate assurance " of one so young fairly knocked 
the breath out of this Mr. Eminent Respectability ; 
it was absolutely revolting to all his " ideas of pro- 
priety, to see a stranger, a man who never paid a tax 
in our city, and perhaps no where else, to possess the 
impudence to take the lead and nominate a candidate 
for the electors of Boston !" The " young gentleman 
of six months standing," was not a whit abashed or 
awed by the commotion which he had produced. 
That was simply a case of cause and effect. But he 
seemed in turn astonished at his opponent's evident 
ignorance of William Lloyd Garrison. " It is true," 
he replied, with the proud dignity of conscious power, 
it is true that my acquaintance in this city is lim- 
ited. I have sought none. Let me assure him, how- 



ever, that if my life be spared, my name shall one 
day be known to the world — at least to such extent 
that common inquiry shall be unnecessary. This, I 
know will be deemed excessive vanity — but time 
shall prove it prophetic." To the charge of youth 
he makes this stinging rejoinder, which evinces the 
progress he was making in the tournament of lan- 
guage : The little, paltry sneers at my youth by 
your correspondent have long since become point- 
less. It is the privileged abuse of old age — the 
hackneyed allegation of a thousand centuries — the 
damning crime to which all men have been subjected. 
I leave it to metaphysicians to determine the precise 
moment when wisdom and experience leap into exis- 
tence, when, for the first time, the mind distinguishes 
truth from error, selfishness from patriotism, and 
passion from reason. It is sufficient for me that I am 
understood." This was Garrison's first experience with 
"gentlemen of property and standing" in Boston. 
It was not his last, as future chapters will abundantly 



There is a moment in the life of every serious soul, 
when things, which were before unseen and unheard 
in the world around him become visible and audible. 
This startling moment comes to some sooner, to others 
later, but to all, who are not totally given up to the 
service of self, at sometime surely. From that mo- 
ment a change passes over such an one, for more and 
more he hears mysterious voices, and clearer and 
more clear he sees apparitional forms floating up 
from the depths above which he kneels. Whence 
come they, what mean they ? He leans over the 
abyss, and lo ! the sounds to which he hearkens are 
the voices of human weeping and the forms at which 
he gazes are the apparitions of human woe ; they 
beckon to him, and the voices beseech him in multi- 
tudinous accent and heart-break : " Come over, come 
down, oh ! friend and brother, and help us." Then 
he straightway puts away the things and the thoughts 
of the past and girding himself with the things, and 
the thoughts of the divine Ought and the almighty 
Must, he goes over and down to the rescue. 

Such an epochal first moment came to William 
Lloyd Garrison in the streets of Boston. Amid the 
hard struggle for bread he heard the abysmal voices, 
saw the gaunt forms of misery. He was a constant 



witness of the ravages of the demon of drink — saw 
how strong men succumbed, and weak ones turned to 
brutes in its clutch. And were they not his brothers, 
the strong men and the weak ones alike ? And how 
could he, their keeper, see them desperately beset 
and not fly to their help ? Ah ! he could not and did 
not walk by on the other side, but, stripling though 
he was, rushed to do battle with the giant vice, which 
was slaying the souls and the bodies of his fellow 
citizens. Rum during the three first decades of the 
present century was, like death, no respecter of per- 
sons, entering with equal freedom the homes of the 
rich, and the hovels of the poor. It was in universal 
demand by all classes and conditions of men. No 
occasion was esteemed too sacred for its presence and 
use. It was an honored guest at a wedding, a christ- 
ening, or a funeral. The minister whose hands were 
laid in baptismal blessing on babes, or raised in the 
holy sacrament of love over brides, lifted also the 
glass ; and the selfsame lips which had spoken the 
last words over the dead, drank and made merry 
presently afterward among the decanters on the side- 
board. It mattered not for what the building was 
intended — whether for church, school, or parsonage, 
rum was the grand master of ceremonies, the indis- 
pensable celebrant at the various stages of its com- 
pletion. The party who dug the parson out after a 
snow-storm, verily got their reward, a sort of preliba- 
tion of the visionary sweets of that land, flowing 
not, according to the Jewish notion, with milk and 
honey^ but according to the revised version of Yan- 
keedom, with milk and rum. Rum was, forsooth, a 
very decent devil, if judged by the exalted character 



of the company it kept. It stood high on the rungs 
of the social ladder and pulled and pushed men from 
it by thousands to wretchedness and ruin. So flagrant 
and universal was the drinking customs of Boston then 
that dealers offered on the commons during holidays, 
without let or hindrance, the drunkard's glass to 
the crowds thronging by extemporized booths and 
bars. Shocking as was the excesses of ^his period 
" nothing comparatively was heard on the subject of 
intemperance — it was seldom a theme for the essay- 
ist — the newspapers scarcely acknowledged its exist- 
ence, excepting occasionally in connection with some 
catastrophes or crimes — the Christian and patriot, 
while they perceived its ravages, formed no plans for 
its overthrow — and it did not occur to any that a 
paper devoted mainly to its suppression, might be 
made a direct and successful engine in the great 
work of reform. Private expostulations and individ- 
ual confessions were indeed sometimes made ; but 
no systematic efforts were adopted to give precision 
to the views or a bias to the sentiments of the 
people." Such was the state of public morals and 
the state of public sentiment up to the year 1826, 
when there occurred a change. This change was 
brought about chiefly through the instrumentality 
of a Baptist city missionary, the Rev. William 
Collier. His labors among the poor of Boston had 
doubtless revealed to him the bestial character of 
intemperance, and the necessity of doing something 
to check and put an end to the havoc it was work- 
ing. With this design he established the National 
Philanthropist in Boston, March 4, 1826. The editor 
was one of Garrison's earliest acquaintances in the 


city. Garrison went after awhile to board with him, 
and still later entered the office of the Philanthropist 
as a type-setter. The printer of the paper, Nathaniel 
H. White and young Garrison, occupied the same 
room at Mr. Collier's. And so almost before ouf 
hero was aware, he had launched his bark upon the 
sea of the temperance reform. Presently, when the 
founder of the paper retired, it seemed the most 
natural thing in the world, that the young journey- 
man printer, with his editorial experience and ability, 
should succeed him as editor. His room-mate, 
White, bought the Philanthropist^ and in April 1828, 
formally installed Garrison into its editorship. Into 
this new work he carried all his moral earnestness 
and enthusiasm of purpose. The paper grew under 
his hand in size, typographical appearance, and in 
editorial force and capacity. It was a wide-awake 
sentinel on the wall of society ; and week after 
week its columns bristled and flashed with apposite 
facts, telling arguments, shrewd suggestions, cogent 
appeals to the community to destroy the accursed 
thing. No better education could he have had a^ 
the preparation for his life work. He began to 
understand then the strength of deep-seated public 
evils, to acquaint himself with the methods and in- 
struments with which to attack them. The Philan* 
thropist was a sort of forerunner, so far as the train- 
ing in intelligent and effective agitation was con- 
cerned, of the Genius of Universal E?nancipation and 
of the Liberator. One cannot read his sketch of the 
progress made by the temperance reform, from 
which I have already quoted, and published by him 
in the Philanthropist in April, 1828, without being 



Struck by the strong similitude of the temperance 
to the anti-slavery movement in their beginnings. 
" When this paper was first proposed," the young 
temperance editor records, " it met with a repulsion 
which would have utterly discouraged a less zeal- 
ous and persevering man than our predecessor. The 
moralist looked on doubtfully — the whole community 
esteemed the enterprise desperate. Mountains of 
prejudice, overtopping the Alps, were to be beaten 
down to a level — strong interest, connected by a 
thousand links, severed — new habits formed; Every 
house, and almost every individual, in a greater or 
less degree, reclaimed. Derision and contumely 
were busy in crushing this sublime project in its 
birth — coldness and apathy encompassed it on every 
side — but our predecessor, nevertheless, went boldly 
forward with a giant's strength and more than a 
giant's heart — conscious of difficulties and perils, 
though not disheartened, armed with the weapons 
of truth — full of meekness, yet certain of a splendid 
victory — and relying on the promises of God for 
the issue." What an inestimable object-lesson to 
Garrison was the example of this good man going 
forth singlehanded to do battle with one of the 
greatest evils of the age ! It was not numerical 
strength, but the faith of one earnest soul that is 
able in the world of ideas and human passions to re- 
move mountains out of the way of the onward march 
of mankind. This truth, we may be sure, sunk many 
fathoms deep into the mind of the young moralist. 
And no wonder. For the results of two years agita- 
tion and seed sowing were of the most astonishing 
character. ** The change which has taken place in 


public sentiment," he continues, " is indeed remark- 
able . . . incorporated as intemperance was^ and 
still /J, into our very existence as a people. . . . 
A regenerating spirit is everywhere seen ; a 
strong impulse to action has been given, which, be- 
ginning in the breasts of a few individuals, and 
then affecting villages, and cities, and finally whole 
States, has rolled onward triumphantly through the 
remotest sections of the republic. As union and 
example are the levers adopted to remove this gi- 
gantic vice, temperance societies have been rapidly 
multiplied, many on the principle of entire absti- 
nence, and others making it a duty to abstain from 
encouraging the distillation and consumption of 
spirituous liquors. Expressions of the deep abhor- 
rence and sympathy which are felt in regard to the 
awful prevalence of drunkenness are constantly 
emanating from legislative bodies down to various 
religious conventions, medical associations, grand 
juries, etc., etc. But nothing has more clearly 
evinced the strength of this excitement than the 
general interest taken in this subject by the con- 
ductors of the press. From Maine to the Mississippi, 
and as far as printing has penetrated — even among 
the Cherokee Indians — but one sentiment seems to 
pervade the public papers, viz., the necessity of 
strenuous exertion for the suppression of intemper- 
ance." Such a demonstration of the tremendous 
power of a single righteous soul for good, we may 
be sure, exerted upon Garrison lasting influences. 
What a revelation it was also of the transcendent 
part which the press was capable of playing in the 
revolution of popular sentiment upon moral ques- 



tions ; and of the supreme service of organization 
as a factor in reformatory movements. The seeds 
sowed were faith in the convictions of one man against 
the opinions, the prejudices, and the practices of the 
multitude ; and knowledge of and skill in the use of 
the instruments by which the individual conscience 
may be made to correct and renovate the moral 
sense of a nation. But there was another seed corn 
dropped at this time in his mind, and that is the 
immense utility of woman in the work of regenerating 
society. She it is who feels even more than man the 
effects of social vices and sins, and to her the moral re- 
former should strenuously appeal for aid. And this, 
with the instinct of genius. Garrison did in the 
temperance reform, nearly seventy years ago. His 
editorials in the Philanthropist in the year 1828 on 
" Female Influence " may be said to be the courier 
avant oi the Woman's Christian Temperance Union 
of to-day, as they were certainly the precursors of the 
female anti-slavery societies of a few years later. 

But now, without his knowing it, a stranger from 
a distant city entered Boston with a message, 
which was to change the whole purpose of the young 
editor's life. It was Benjamin Lundy, the indefati- 
gable friend of the Southern slave, the man who 
carried within his breast the whole menagerie of 
Southern slavery. He was fresh from the city 
which held the dust of Fanny Garrison, who had 
once written to her boy in Newburyport, how the 
good God had cared for her in the person of a 
colored woman. Yes, she had written: "The ladies 
are all kind to me, and I have a colored woman that 
waits on me, that is so kind no one can tell how kind 


she is; and although a slave to man, yet a free-born 
soul, by the grace of God. Her name is Henny, 
and should I never see you again, and you should 
come where she is, remember her, for your poor 
mother's sake." And now, without his dreaming of 
it, this devoted Samaritan in black, who, perhaps, 
had long ago joined her dear friend in the grave, was 
coming to that very boy, now grown to manhood, to 
claim for her race what the mother had asked for 
her, the kind slave-woman. Not one of all those little 
ones of the nation but who had a home in the many- 
mansioned heart of Lundy. He had been an eye and 
ear witness of the barbarism of slavery. " My 
heart," he sobbed, " was deeply grieved at the gross 
abomination; I heard the wail of the captive; I felt 
his pang of distress, and the iron entered my soul." 
With apostolic faith and zeal he had for a decade 
been striving to free the captive, and to tie up his 
bruised spirit. Sadly, but with a great love, he had 
gone about the country on his self-imposed task. 
To do this work he had given up the business of a 
saddler, in which he had prospered, had sacrificed 
his possessions, and renounced the ease that comes 
with wealth ; had courted unheard-of hardships, 
and wedded himself for better and worse to poverty 
and unremitting endeavor. Nothing did he esteem too 
dear to relinquish for the slave. Neither wife nor 
children did he withhold. Neither the summer's 
heat nor the winter's cold was able to daunt him or 
turn him from his object. Though diminutive and 
delicate of body, no distance or difficulty of travel 
was ever able to deter him from doing what his 
humanity had bidden him do. From place to place, 



through nineteen States, he had traveled, sowing as 
he went the seeds of his holy purpose, and watering 
them with his life's blood. Not Livingstone nor 
Stanley on the dark continent exceeded in sheer 
physical exertion and endurance the labors of this 
wonderful man. He belongs in the category of 
great explorers, only the irresistible passion and pur- 
pose, which pushed him forward, had humanity, not 
geography, as their goal. Where, in the lives of 
either Stanley or Livingstone do we find a record of 
more astonishing activity and achievement than what 
is contained in these sentences, written by Garrison 
of Lundy, in the winter of 1828? "Within a few 
months he has traveled about twenty-four hundred 
miles, of which upwards of nineteen hundred were 
performed on foot ! during which time he has held 
nearly fifty public meetings. Rivers and mountains 
vanish in his path; midnight finds him wending his 
solitary way over an unfrequented road; the sun is 
anticipated in his rising. Never was moral sublimity 
of character better illustrated." Such was the 
marvelous man, whose visit to Boston, in the month 
of March, of the year 1828, dates the beginning of a 
new epoch in the history of America. The event of 
that year was not the " Bill of Abominations," great 
as was the national excitement which it produced; 
nor was it yet the then impending political struggle 
between Jackson and Adams, but the unnoticed 
meeting of Lundy and Garrison. Great historic 
movements are born not in the whirlwinds, the earth- 
quakes, and the pomps of human splendor and 
power, but in the agonies and enthusiasms of grand, 
heroic spirits. Up to this time Garrison had had, as 


the religious revivalist would say, no " realizing 
sense " of the enormity of slave-holding. Occasion- 
ally an utterance had dropped from his pen which 
indicated that his heart was right on the subject, but 
which evinced no more than the ordinary opposition 
to its existence, nor any profound convictions as to 
his own or the nation's duty in regard to its extinc- 
tion. His first reference to the question appeared in 
connection with a notice made by him in the Free 
Press of a spirited poem, entitled " Africa," in which 
the authoress sings of : 

" The wild and mingling groans of writhing millions, 
Calling for vengeance on my guilty land." 
He commended the verses **to all those who wish to 
cherish female genius, and whose best feelings are 
enlisted in the cause of the poor oppressed sons of 
Africa." He was evidently impressed, but the impres- 
sion belonged to the ordinary, transitory sort. His 
next recorded utterance on the subject was also in 
the Free Press. It was made in relation with some 
just and admirable strictures on the regulation Fourth 
of July oration, with its " ceaseless apostrophes to 
liberty, and fierce denunciations of tyranny." Such 
a tone was false and mischievous — the occasion was 
for other and graver matter. " There is one theme," 
he declares, " which should be dwelt upon, till our 
whole country is free from the curse — it is slavery." 
The emphasis and energy of the rebuke and exhorta- 
tion lifts this second allusion to slavery, quite outside 
of merely ordinary occurrences. It was not an ordi- 
nary personal occurrence for it served to reveal in its 
lightning-like flash the glow and glare of a conscience 
taking fire. The fire slumbered until a few weeks 



before Lundy entered Boston, when there were again 
the glow and glare of a moral sense in the first stages 
of ignition on the enormity of slave institutions. The 
act of South Carolina in making it illegal to teach a 
colored person to read and write struck this spark 
from his pen : ^' There is something unspeakably 
pitiable and alarming," he writes in \.\\& Philanthropist ^ 
"in the state of that society where it is deemed nec- 
essary, for self-preservation, to seal up the mind and 
debase the intellect of man to brutal incapacity. . . . 
Truly the alternatives of oppression are terrible. But 
this state of things cannot always last, nor ignorance 
alone shield us from destruction." His interest in the 
question was clearly growing. But it was still in the 
gristle of sentiment waiting to be transmuted into 
the bone and muscle of a definite and determined pur- 
pose, when first he met Lundy. This meeting of the 
two men, was to Garrison what the fourth call of God 
was to Samuel, the Hebrew lad, who afterward became 
a prophet. As the three previous calls of God and 
the conversations with Eli had prepared the Jewish 
boy to receive and understand the next summons of 
Jehovah, so had Garrison's former experience and 
education made him ready for the divine message 
when uttered in his ears by Lundy. All the sense of 
truth and the passion for righteousness of the young 
man replied to the voice, " Here am L" The harden- 
ing process of growth became immediately manifest 
in him. Whereas before there was sentimental oppo- 
sition to slavery, there began then an opposition, 
active and practical. When Lundy convened many 
of the ministers of the city to expose to them the bar- 
barism of slavery. Garrison sat in the room, and as 


Lundy himself records, expressed his approbation 
of my doctrines." The young reformer must needs 
stand up and make public profession of his new faith 
and of his agreement with the anti-slavery principles 
of the older. But it was altogether different with the 
assembled ministers. Lundy, as was his wont on 
such occasions, desired and urged the formation of an 
anti-slavery society, but these sons of Eli of that gen- 
eration were not willing to offend their slave-holding 
brethren in the South. Eyes they had, but they 
refused to see; ears, which they stopped to the cry of 
the slave breaking in anguish and appeal from the 
lips of this modern man of God. Garrison, eleven 
years later, after the lips, which were eloquent then 
with their great sorrow, were speechless in the grave, 
told the story of that ministers' meeting. And 
here is the story : 

He (Lundy) might as well have urged the stones 
in the streets to cry out in behalf of the perishing 
captives. Oh, the moral cowardice, the chilling apa- 
thy, the criminal unbelief, the cruel skepticism, that 
were revealed on that memorable occasion ! My soul 
was on fire then, as it is now, in view of such a devel- 
opment. Every soul in the room was heartily 
opposed to slavery, but, it would terribly alarm and 
enrage the South to know that an anti-slavery society 
existed in Boston. But it would do harm rather than 
good openly to agitate the subject. But perhaps a 
j<?/^^/ committee might be formed, to be called by some 
name that would neither give offence, nor excite sus- 
picion as to its real design ! One or two only were 
for bold and decisive action ; but as they had neither 
station nor influence, and did not rank among the 


wise and prudent, their opinion did not weigh very 
heavily, and the project was finally abandoned. Poor 
Lundy ! that meeting was a damper to his feelings." 
There is no doubt that Garrison was one of the very 
few present, who were for bold and decisive action" 
against the iniquity. The grief and disappointment 
of his brave friend touched his heart with a brother's 
affection and pity. The worldly wisdom and luke- 
warmness of the clergy kindled a righteous indigna- 
tion within his freedom-loving soul. This was his 
first bitter lesson from the clergy. There were, alas, 
many and bitterer experiences to follow, but of them 
he little recked at the time. As this nineteenth-cen- 
tury prophet mused upon the horrible thing the fires 
of a life purpose burned within him. And oftener 
thenceforth we catch glimpses of the glow and glare 
of a soul bursting into flame. The editorials in the 
Philanthropist ^ which swiftly followed Lundy's visit, 
began to throw off more heat as the revolving wheels 
of an electrical machine throw off sparks. The evil 
that there was in the world, under which, wherever he 
turned, he saw his brother man staggering and bleed- 
ing, was no longer what it had been, a vague and 
shadowy apparition, but rather a terrible and tremen- 
dous reality against which he must go forth to fight 
the fight of a lifetime. And so he girded him with his 
life purpose and flung his moral earnestness against 
the triple-headed curse of intemperance, slavery, and 
war. A mighty human love had begun to flow 
inward and over him. And as the tide steadily rose 
it swallowed and drowned all the egoism of self and 
race in the altruism of an all-embracing humanity. 
When an apprentice in the office of the Newburyport 


Herald^ and writing on tlie subject of South American 
affairs he grew hot over the wrongs suffered by 
American vessels at Valparaiso and Lima. He was 
for finishing " with cannon what cannot be done in a 
conciliatory and equitable manner, where justice 
demands such proceedings." This was at seventeen 
when he was a boy with the thoughts of a boy. Six 
years later he is a man who has looked upon the sor- 
rows of men. His old boy-world is far behind him, 
and the ever-present sufferings of his kind are in 
front of him. War now is no longer glorious, for it 
adds immeasurably to the sum of human misery. 
War ought to be abolished with intemperance and 
slavery. And this duty he began to utter in the ears 
of his country. " The brightest traits in the American 
character will derive their luster, not from the laurels 
picked from the field of blood, not from the magni- 
tude of our navy and the success of our arms," he 
proclaimed, " but from our exertions to banish war 
from the earth, to stay the ravages of intemperance 
among all that is beautiful and fair, to unfetter those 
who have been enthralled by chains, which we have 
forged, and to spread the light of knowledge and 
religious liberty, wherever darkness and superstition 
reign. . . . The struggle is full of sublimity, the con- 
quest embraces the world." Lundy himself did not 
fully appreciate the immense gain, which his cause 
had made in the conversion of Garrison into an active 
friend of the slave. Not at once certainly. Later he 
knew. The discovery of a kindred spirit in Boston 
exerted probably no little influence in turning for the 
second time his indefatigable feet toward that city. 
He made it a second visit in July, 1828, where again 



he met Garrison. His experience with the ministers 
did not deter him from repeating the horrible tale 
wherever he could get together an audience. This 
time he secured his first public hearing in Boston. 
It was in the Federal Street Baptist Church. He 
spoke not only on the subject of slavery itself, the 
growth of anti-slavery societies, but on a new phase 
of the general subject, viz., the futility of the Coloni- 
zation Society as an abolition instrument. Garrison 
was present, and treasured up in his heart the words 
of his friend. He did not forget how Lundy had 
pressed upon his hearers the importance of petition- 
ing Congress for the abolition of slavery in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, as we shall see further on. But 
poor Lundy was unfortunate with the ministers. He 
got this time not the cold shoulder alone but a cleri- 
cal slap in the face as well. He had just sat down 
when the pastor of the church, Rev. Howard Malcolm, 
uprose in wrath and inveighed against any intermed- 
dling of the North with slavery, and brought the 
meeting with a high hand to a close. This incident 
was the first collision with the church of the forlorn 
hope of the Abolition movement. Trained as Garri- 
son was in the orthodox creed and sound in that creed 
almost to bigotry, this behavior of a standard-bearer 
of the church, together with the apathy displayed by 
the clergy on a former occasion, caused probably the 
first " little rift within the lute " of his creed, " that 
by and by will make the music mute, and, ever widen- 
ing, slowly silence all." For in religion as in love, 
** Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all." The Rev. 
Howard Malcolm's arbitrary proceeding had pre- 
vented the organization of an anti-slavery committee. 


But this was affected at a second meeting of the 
friends of the slave. Garrison was one of the twenty 
gentlemen who were appointed such a committee. 
His zeal and energy far exceeded the zeal and energy 
of the remaining nineteen. He did not need the 
earnest exhortation of Lundy to impress upon his 
memory the importance of activity and steady per- 
severance." He perceived almost at once that every- 
thing depended on them. And so he had formed 
plans for a vigorous campaign against the existence 
of slavery in the District of Columbia. But before he 
was ready to set out along the line of work, which he 
had laid down for Massachusetts, the scene of his 
labors shifted to Bennington, Vermont. Before he 
left Boston, Lundy had recognized him as '* a valuable 
coadjutor." The relationship between the two men 
was becoming beautifully close. The more Lundy 
saw of Garrison, the more he must have seemed to 
him a man after his own heart. And so no wonder 
that he was solicitous of fastening him to his cause 
with hooks of steel. The older had written the 
younger reformer a letter almost paternal in tone — 
he must do thus and thus, he must not be dis- 
appointed if he finds the heavy end of the burthen 
borne by himself, while those associated with him do 
little to keep the wheels moving, he must remember 
that a few will have the labor to perform and the 
honor to share." Then there creeps into his words a 
grain of doubt, a vague fear lest his young ally should 
take his hands from the plough and go the way of all 
men, and here are the words which Paul might have 
written to Timothy : I hope you will persevere in 
your work, steadily, but not make too large calcula- 



tions on what may be accomplished in a particularly- 
stated time. You have now girded on a holy war- 
fare. Lay not down your weapons until honorable 
terms are obtained. The God of hosts is on your side. 
Steadiness and faithfulness will most assuredly over- 
come every obstacle." The older apostle had yet to 
learn that the younger always did what he undertook 
in the field of morals and philanthropy. 

But the scene had shifted from Boston to Benning- 
ton, and with the young reformer goes also his plan 
of campaign for anti-slavery work. The committee 
of twenty, now nineteen since his departure, slum- 
bered and slept in the land of benevolent intentions, 
a practical illustration of Lundy's pungent saying, 
that " philanthropists are the slowest creatures breath- 
ing. They think forty times before they act.*' The 
committee never acted, but its one member in Ver- 
mont did act, and that promptly and powerfully as 
shall shortly appear. Garrison had gone to Benning- 
ton to edit the Journal of the Times in the interest of 
the reelection of John Quincy Adams to the Presi- 
dency. For this object he was engaged as editor of 
the paper. What he was engaged to do he performed 
faithfully and ably, but along with his fulfillment of 
his contract with the friends of Mr. Adams, he car- 
ried the one which he had made with humanity like- 
wise. In his salutatory he outlined his intentions in 
this regard thus: "We have three objects in view, 
which we shall pursue through life, whether in this 
place or elsewhere — namely, the suppression of in- 
temperance and its associate vices, the gradual eman- 
cipation of every slave in the republic, and the per- 
petuity of national peace. . In discussing these topics 


what is wanting in vigor shall be made up in zeal." 
From the issue of that first number if the friends of 
Adams had no cause to complain of the character of 
his zeal and vigor in their service, neither had the 
friends of humanity. What he had proposed doing 
in Massachusetts as a member of the anti-slavery 
committee of twenty, he performed with remarkable 
energy and success in Vermont. It was to obtain 
signatures not by the hundred to a petition for the 
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, but 
by the thousands, and that from all parts of the State. 
He sent copies of the petition to every postmaster in 
Vermont with the request that he obtain signatures 
in his neighborhood. Through his exertions a public 
meeting of citizens of Bennington was held and in- 
dorsed the petition. The plan for polling the anti- 
slavery sentiment of the State worked admirably. 
The result was a monster petition with 2,352 names 
appended. This he forwarded to the seat of Govern- 
ment. It was a powerful prayer, but as to its effect. 
Garrison had no delusions. He possessed even then 
singularly clear ideas as to how the South would re- 
ceive such petitions, and of the course which it would 
pursue to discourage their presentation. He was no less 
clear as to how the friends of freedom ought to carry 
themselves under the circumstances. In the Jourfial 
of the Times of November, 1828, he thus expressed 
himself: It requires no spirit of prophecy to pre- 
dict that it (the petition) will create great opposition. 
An attempt will be made to frighten Northern 
* dough-faces ' as in case of the Missouri question. 
There will be an abundance of furious declamation, 
menace, and taunt Are we, therefore, to approach 



the subject timidly — with half a heart — as if we were 
treading on forbidden ground ? No, indeed, but ear- 
nestly, fearlessly, as becomes men, who are determined 
to clear their country and themselves from the guilt 
of oppressing God's free and lawful creatures." 
About the same time he began to make his assaults 
on the personal representatives of the slave-power in 
Congress, cauterizing in the first instance three 
Northern " dough-faces," who had voted against some 
resolutions, looking to the abolition of the slave-trade 
and slavery itself in the District of Columbia. So 
while the South thus early was seeking to frighten 
the North from the agitation of the slavery question 
in Congress, Garrison was unconsciously preparing 
a countercheck by making it dangerous for a North- 
ern man to practice Southern principles in the 
National Legislature. He did not mince his words, 
but called a spade a spade, and sin, sin. He per- 
ceived at once that if he would kill the sin of slave- 
holding, he could not spare the sinner. And so he 
spoke the names of the deliquents from the housetop 
of the Journal of the Times, stamping upon their 
brows the scarlet letter of their crime against liberty. 
He had said in the October before: ''It is time that 
a voice of remonstrance went forth from the North, 
that should peal in the ears of every slaveholder like 
a roar of thunder. . . . For ourselves, we are resolved 
to agitate this subject to the utmost; nothing but 
death shall prevent us from denouncing a crime which 
has no parallel in human depravity; we shall take 
high ground. The alarm must be perpetual'' A voice 
of remonstrance, with thunder growl accompaniment., 
was rising higher and clearer from the pen of the 


young editor. His tone of earnestness was deepening 
to the stern bass of the moral reformer, and the 
storm breath of enthusiasm was blowing to a blaze 
the glowing coals of his humanity. The wail of 
the fleeing fugitive from the house of bondage 
sounded no longer far away and unreal in his ears, 
but thrilled now right under the windows of his soul. 
The masonic excitement and the commotion created 
by the abduction of Morgan he caught up and shook 
before the eyes of his countrymen as an object lesson 
of the million-times greater wrong daily done the 
slaves. " All this fearful commotion," he pealed, 
" has arisen from the abduction of one man. More 
than two millions of unhappy beings are groaning out 
their lives in bondage, and scarcely a pulse quickens, 
or a heart leaps, or a tongue pleads in their behalf. 
'Tis a trifling affair, which concerns nobody. Oh! 
for the spirit that rages, to break every fetter of 
oppression ! " Such a spirit was fast taking possession 
of the writer. 

Of this Lundy was well informed. He had not 
lost sight of his young coadjutor, but had watched 
his course with great hope and growing confidence. 
In him he found what he had discovered in no one 
else, anti-slavery activity and perseverence. He had 
often found men who protested loudly their benevo- 
lence for the negro, but who made not the slightest 
exertion afterward to carry out their good wishes. 
" They will pen a paragraph, perhaps an article, or 
so — and then — the subject is exhausted It was not so 
with his young friend, the Bennington editor. He 
saw that ''argument and useful exertion on the sub- 
iect of African emancipation can never be exhausted 



until the system of slavery itself be totally annihi- 
lated." He was faithful among the faithless found 
by Lundy. To reassure his doubting leader, Garrison 
took upon himself publicly a vow of perpetual con- 
secration to the slave. "Before God and our country," 
he declares, " we give our pledge that the liberation 
of the enslaved Africans shall always be uppermost 
in our pursuits. The people of New England are 
interested in this matter, and they must be aroused 
from their lethargy as by a trumpet-call. They shall 
not quietly slumber while we have the management 
of a press, or strength to hold a pen." The question 
of slavery had at length obtained the ascendency 
over all other questions in his regard. And when 
Lundy perceived this he set out from Baltimore to 
Bennington to invite Garrison to join hands with 
him in his emancipation movement at Baltimore. 
He performed the long journey on foot, with staff in 
hand in true apostolic fashion. The two men of 
God met among the mountains of Vermont, and 
when the elder returned from the heights the younger 
had resolved to follow him to the vales where men 
needed his help, the utmost which he could give 
them. He agreed to join his friend in Baltimore and 
there edit with him his little paper with the grand 
name i^The Genius of Universal Emancipation), devoted 
to preaching the gospel of the gradual abolishment of 
American slavery. Garrison was to take the position 
of managing editor, and Lundy to look after the sub- 
scription list. The younger to be resident, the elder 
itinerant partner in the publication of the paper. 
Garrison closed his relations with the Journal of the 
Times, March 27, 1829, and delivered his valedictory 


to its readers. This valedictory strikes with stern 
hammer-stroke the subject of his thoughts. " Here- 
after," it reads, "the editorial charge of this paper 
will devolve on another person. I am invited to 
occupy a broader field, and to engage in a higher 
enterprise; that field embraces the whole country — 
that enterprise is in behalf of the slave popula- 

"To my apprehension, the subject of slavery 
involves interests of greater moment to our welfare as 
a republic, and demands a more prudent and minute 
investigation than any other which has come before 
the American people since the Revolutionary struggle 
— than all others which now occupy their attention. 
No body of men on the face of the earth deserve 
their charities, and prayers, and united assistance so 
much as the slaves of this country; and yet they are 
almost entirely neglected. It is true many a cheek 
burns with shame in view of our national incon- 
sistency, and many a heart bleeds for the miserable 
African. It is true examples of disinterested benevo- 
lence and individual sacrifices are numerous, particu- 
larly in the Southern States; but no systematic, 
vigorous, and successful measures have been made to 
overthrow this fabric of oppression. I trust in God 
that I may be the humble instrument of breaking at 
least one chain, and restoring one captive to liberty; 
it will amply repay a life of severe toil." The causes 
of temperance and peace came in also for an earnest 
parting word, but they had clearly declined to a 
place of secondary importance in the writer's regard. 
To be more exact, they had not really declined, but 
the slavery question had risen in his mind above both. 



They were great questions, but it was the question — 
had become his cause. 

Lundy, after his visit to Garrison at Bennington, 
started on a trip to Hayti with twelve emanci- 
pated slaves, whom he had undertaken to colonize 
there. Garrison awaited in Boston the return of his 
partner to Baltimore. The former, meanwhile, was 
out of employment, and sorely in need of money. 
Never had he been favored with a surplusage of the 
root of all evil. He was deficient in the money- 
getting and money-saving instinct. Such was plainly 
not his vocation, and so it happened that wherever he 
turned, he and poverty walked arm in arm, and the 
interrogatory, wherewithal shall I be fed and 
clothed on the morrow ? " was never satisfactorily 
answered until the morrow arrived. This led him at 
times into no little embarrassment and difficulty. But 
since he was always willing to work at the case, 
and to send his " pride on a pilgrimage to Mecca," 
the embarrassment was not protracted, nor did the 
difficulty prove insuperable. 

The Congregational societies of Boston invited 
him in June to deliver before them a Fourth of July 
address in the interest of the Colonization Society. 
The exercises took place in Park Street Church. Ten 
days before this event he was called upon to pay a 
bill of four dollars for failure to appear at the May 
muster. Refusing to do so, he was thereupon sum- 
moned to come into the Police Court on the glorious 
Fourth to show cause why he ought not to pay the 
amercement. He was in a quandary. He did not 
owe the money, but as he could not be in two places 
at the same time, and, inasmuch as he wanted very 


( much to deliver his address before the Congregational 
Societies, and did not at all long to make the acquaint- 
ance of his honor, the Police Court Judge, he 
determined to pay the fine. But, alack and alas! he 
had " not a farthing " with which to discharge him 
from his embarrassment. Fortunately, if he wanted 

I money he did not want friends. And one of these, 
Jacob Horton, of Newburyport, who had married 
his " old friend and playmate, Harriet Farnham," 
came to his rescue with the requisite amount. 

On the day and place appointed Garrison appeared 
before the Congregational Societies with an address, 
to the like of which, it is safe to say, they had never 
before listened. It was the Fourth of July, but the 
orator was in no holiday humor. There was not, in 
a single sentence of the oration the slightest en- 
deavor to be playful with his audience. It was rather 
an eruption of human suffering, and of the humanity 
of one man to man. What the Boston clergy saw 
that afternoon, in the pulpit of Park Street Church, 
was the vision of a soul on fire. Garrison burned 
and blazed as the sun that July afternoon burned 
and blazed in the city's streets. None without 
escaped the scorching rays of the latter, none within 
was able to shun the fervid heat of the former. 
Those of my readers who have watched the effects 
of the summer's sun on a track of sandy land and 
have noted how, about midday, the heat seems to 
rise in sparkling particles and exhalations out of the 
hot, surcharged surface, can form some notion of the 
moral fervor and passion of this Fourth of July ad- 
dress, delivered more than sixty years ago, in Boston. 
Through all the pores of it, over all the length and 



breadth of it, there went up bright, burning particles 
from the sunlit sympathy and humanity of the young 

In beginning, he animadverted, among other 
things, on the spread of intemperance, of political 
corruption, on the profligacy of the press, and, amid 
them all, the self-complacency and boastfulness of 
the national spirit, as if it bore a charmed life. 

" But," he continued, " there is another evil which, 
if we had to contend against nothing else, should 
make us quake for the issue. It is a gangrene prey- 
ing upon our vitals — an earthquake rumbling under 
our feet — a mine accumulating material for a national 
catastrophe. It should make this a day of fasting 
and prayer, not of boisterous merriment and idle 
pageantry — a day of great lamentation, not of con- 
gratulatory joy. It should spike every cannon, and 
haul down every banner. Our garb should be sack- 
cloth — our heads bowed in the dust — our supplica- 
tions for the pardon and assistance of Heaven. 

" Sirs, I am not come to tell you that slavery is a 
curse, debasing in its effects, cruel in its operations, 
fatal in its continuance. The day and the occasion 
require no such revelation. I do not claim the dis- 
covery as my own, that * all men are born equal,* and 
that among their inalienable rights are * life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness.' Were I addressing any 
other than a free and Christian assembly, the enforce- 
ment of this truth might be pertinent. Neither do I 
intend to analyze the horrors of slavery for your 
inspection, nor to freeze your blood with authentic 
recitals of savage cruelty. Nor will time allow me to 
explore even a furlong of that immense wilderness of 


suffering which remains unsubdued in our land. I 
take it for granted that the existence of these evils is 
acknowledged, if not rightly understood. My object 
is to define and enforce our duty, as Christians and 

This was, by way of exordium, the powerful skir- 
mish line of the address. Assuming the existence of 
the evil, he advanced boldly to his theme, viz., the 
duty of abolishing it. To this end he laid down four 
propositions, as a skillful general plants his cannon 
on the heights overlooking and commanding his 
enemies* works. The first, broadly stated, asserted 
the kinship of the slave to the free population of the 
republic. They were men ; they were natives of the 
country; they were in dire need. They were igno- 
rant, degraded, morally and socially. They were the 
heathen at home, whose claims far outranked those 
in foreign lands ; they were higher than those of the 
*' Turks or Chinese, for they have the privileges of 
instruction ; higher than the Pagans, for they are not 
dwellers in a Gospel land; higher than our red men 
of the forest, for we do not bind them with gyves, 
nor treat them as chattels." 

Then he turned hotly upon the Church, exclaiming: 
*'What has Christianity done by direct effort for 
our slave population ? Comparatively nothing. She 
has explored the isles of the ocean for objects of 
commiseration; but, amazing stupidity ! she can gaze 
without emotion on a multitude of miserable beings 
at home, large enough to constitute a nation of free- 
men, -whom tyranny has heathenized by law. In her 
public services they are seldom remembered, and in 
her private donations they are forgotten. From one 



end of the country to the other her charitable soci- 
eties form golden links of benevolence, and scatter 
their contributions like rain drops over a parched 
heath; but they bring no sustenance to the perishing 
slave. The blood of souls is upon her garments, yet 
she heeds not the stain. The clanking of the prison- 
er's chains strike upon her ear, but they cannot pene- 
trate her heart." 

Then, with holy wrath upon the nation, thus : 
" Every Fourth of July our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence is produced, with a sublime indignation, to 
set forth the tyranny of the mother country, and to 
challenge the admiration of the world. But what a 
pitiful detail of grievances does this document pre- 
sent, in comparison with the wrong* which our slaves 
endure ? In the one case it is hardly the plucking of 
a hair from the head ; in the other, it is the crushing 
of a live body on the wheel — the stings of the wasp 
contrasted with the tortures of the Inquisition. Be- 
fore God I must say that such a glaring contradic- 
tion as exists between our creed and practice the 
annals of six thousand years cannot parallel. In view 
of it I am ashamed of my country. I am sick of our 
unmeaning declamation in praise of liberty and 
equality; of our hypocritical cant about the inalien- 
able rights of man. I would not for my right hand 
stand up before a European assembly, and exult that 
I am an American citizen, and denounce the usurpa- 
tions of a kingly government as wicked and unjust ; 
or, should I make the attempt, the recollection of my 
country's barbarity and despotism would blister my 
lips, and cover my cheeks with burning blushes of 


Passing to his second proposition, which affirmed 
the right of the free States to be in at the death of 
slavery, he pointed out that slavery was not sectional 
but national in its influence. If the consequences of 
slave-holding did not flow beyond the limits of the 
slave section, the right would still exist, on the prin- 
ciple that what affected injuriously one part must 
ultimately hurt the whole body politic. But it was 
not true that slavery concerned only the States where 
it existed — the parts where it did not exist were 
involved by their constitutional liability to be called 
on for aid in case of a slave insurrection, as they were 
in the slave representation clause of the national com- 
pact, through which the North was deprived of its 
*'just influence in the councils of the nation." And, 
furthermore, the right of the free States to agitate 
the question inhered in the principle of majority rule 
— the white population of the free States being almost 
double that of the slave States, "and the voice of this 
overwhelming majority should be potential." He 
repelled in strong language the wrongfulness of 
allowing the South to multiply the votes of those 
freemen by the master's right to count three for every 
five slaves, " because it is absurd and anti-republican 
to suffer property to be represented as men, and vice 
versa^ because it gives the South an unjust ascend- 
ancy over other portions of territory, and a power 
which may be perverted on every occasion.*' 

He looked without shrinking upon the possibility 
of disunion even then. 

" Now I say that, on the broad system of equal 
rights," he declared, " this inequality should no 
longer be tolerated. If it cannot be speedily put 



down — not by force but by fair persuasion — if we are 
always to remain shackled by unjust constitutional 
provisions, when the emergency that imposed them 
has long since passed away; if we must share in the 
guilt and danger of destroying the bodies and souls 
of men as the price of our Union ; if the slave States 
will haughtily spurn our assistance, and refuse to con- 
sult the general welfare, then the fault is not ours if 
a separation eventually takes place." 

Considering that he was in his twenty-fourth year, 
and that the Abolition movement had then no actual 
existence, the orator evinced surprising prescience in 
his forecast of the future, and of the strife and hos- 
tility which the agitation was destined to engender. 

" But the plea is prevalent," he said, " that any 
interference by the free States, however benevolent 
or cautious it might be, would only irritate and 
inflame the jealousies of the South, and retard the 
cause of emancipation. If any man believes that 
slavery can be abolished without a struggle with the 
worst passions of human nature, quietly, harmoni- 
ously, he cherishes a delusion. It can never be done, 
unless the age of miracles returns. No; we must 
expect a collision, full of sharp asperities and bitter- 
ness. We shall have to contend with the insolence, 
and pride, and selfishness of many a heartless being. 

" Sirs, the prejudices of the North are stronger 
than those of the South; they bristle like so many 
bayonets around the slaves; they forge and rivet the 
chains of the nation. Conquer them and the victory 
is won. The enemies of emancipation take courage 
from our criminal timidity. . . . We are . . . 
afraid of our own shadows, who have been driven 


back to the wall again and again ; who stand trem- 
bling under their whips ; who turn pale, retreat, 
and surrender at a talismanic threat to dissolve the 
Union. . . But the difficulties did not daunt 

him, nor the dangers cow him. He did not doubt, 
but was assured, that truth was mighty and would 
prevail. " Moral influence when in vigorous exer- 
cise," he said, " is irresistible. It has an im.mortal 
essence. It can no more be trod out of existence by 
the iron foot of time, or by the ponderous march of 
iniquity, than matter can be annihilated. It may dis- 
appear for a time; but it lives in some shape or other, 
in some place or other, and will rise with renovated 
strength. Let us then be up and doing. In the 
simple and stirring language of the stout-hearted 
Lundy, all the friends of the cause must go to work, 
keep to work, hold on, and never give up." The 
closing paragraph is this powerful peroration : I 
will say, finally, that I despair of the republic while 
slavery exists therein. If I look up to God for sue 
cess, no smile of mercy or forgiveness dispels the 
gloom of futurity; if to our own resources, they are 
daily diminishing; if to all history our destruction is 
not only possible but almost certain. Why should 
we slumber at this momentous crisis ? If our hearts 
were dead to every thought of humanity: if k were 
lawful to oppress, where power is ample; still, if we 
had any regard for our safety and happiness, we 
should strive to crush the vampire which is feeding 
upon our life-blood. All the selfishness of our nature 
cries aloud for a better security. Our own vices are 
too strong for us, and keep us in perpetual alarm; 
how, in addition to these, shall we be able to contend 



successfully with millions of armed and desperate 
men, as we must, eventually, if slavery do not cease ? " 
Exit the apprentice, enter the master. The period of 
preparation is ended, the time of action begun. The 
address was the fiery cry of the young prophet ere 
he plunged into the unsubdued wilderness of 
American slavery. 



Some time in August, 1829, Garrison landed in Bal- 
timore, and began with Lundy the editorship of 
The Genius of Universal Emancipation. Radical as the 
Park Street Church address was, it had, nevertheless, 
ceased to represent in one essential matter his anti 
slavery convictions and principles. The moral im- 
petus and ground-swell of the address had carried 
him beyond the position where its first flood of feel- 
ing had for the moment left him. During the com- 
position of the address he was transported with grief 
and indignation at the monstrous wrong which 
slavery did the slaves and the nation. He had not 
thought out for himself any means to rid both of the 
curse. The white heat of the address destroyed for 
the instant all capacity for such thinking. " Who can 
be amazed, temperate, and furious — in a moment ? 
No man. The expedition of his violent love outran 
the pauser reason " He had accepted the coloniza- 
tion scheme as an instrument for removing the evil, 
and called on all good citizens " to assist in estab- 
lishing auxiliary colonization societies in every State, 
county, and town " ; and implored " their direct and 
liberal patronage to the parent society." He had not 
apparently, so much as dreamed of any other than 
gradual emancipation. " The emancipation of all 




the slaves of this generation is most assuredly out of 
the question," he said ; " the fabric which now towers 
above the Alps, must be taken away brick by brick, 
and foot by foot, till it is reduced so low that it may 
be overturned without burying the nation in its 
ruins. Years may elapse before the completion of 
of the achievement ; generations of blacks may go 
down to the grave, manacled and lacerated, without 
a hope for their children." He was on the Fourth of 
July a firm and earnest believer in the equity and 
efficacy of gradualism. But after that day, and some 
time before nis departure for Baltimore, he began to 
think on this subject. The more he thought the less 
did gradualism seem defensible on moral grounds. 
John Wesley had said that slavery was the "sum of 
all villainies " ; it was indeed the sin of sins, and as 
such ought to be abandoned not gradually but im- 
mediately. Slave-holding was sin and slaveholders 
were sinners. The sin and sinner should both be de- 
nounced as such and the latter called to instant re- 
pentance, and the duty of making immediate restitu- 
tion of the stolen liberties of their slaves. This was 
the tone ministers of religion held everywhere toward 
sin and sinners, and this should be the tone held by 
the preachers of Abolition toward slavery, and slave- 
holders. To admit the principle of gradualism was for 
Abolition to emasculate itself of its most virile qual- 
ity. Garrison, consequently rejected gradualism as 
a weapon, and took up instead the great and quicken- 
ing doctrine of immediatism. Lundy did not know 
of this change in the convictions of his coadjutor 
until his arrival in Baltimore. Then Garrison frankly 
unburdened himself and declared his decision to con- 



duct his campaign against the national iniquity along 
the lines of immediate and unconditional emancipa- 
tion. The two on this new radicalism did not see 
eye to eye. But Lundy with sententious shrewdness 
and liberality suggested to the young radical: "Thee 
may put thy initials to thy articles and I will put my 
initials to mine, and each will bear his own burden." 
And the arrangement pleased the young radical, for 
it enabled him to free his soul of the necessity which 
was then sitting heavily upon it. The precise state 
of his mind in respect of the question at this juncture 
in its history and in his own is made plain enough in 
his salutatory address in The Genius of Universal 
Emancipation. The vow made in Bennington ten 
months before to devote his life to philanthrophy, 
and the dedication of himself made six months after- 
ward to the extirpation of American slavery, he 
solemnly renews and reseals in Baltimore. He does 
not hate intemperance and war less, but slavery more, 
and those, therefore, he formally relegates thenceforth 
to a place of secondary importance in the endeavors 
of the future. It is obvious that the colonization 
scheme has no strong hold upon his intelligence. He 
does not conceal his respect for it as an instrument 
of freedom, but he puts no high value on its utility. 
" It may pluck a few leaves," he remarks, from the 
Bohon Upas, but can neither extract its roots nor 
destroy its withering properties. Viewed as an aux- 
iliary, it deserves encouragement ; but as a remedy 
it is altogether inadequate." But this was not all. 
As a remedy, colonization was not only altogether in- 
adequate, its influence was indirectly pernicious, in 
that it lulled the popular mind into*' a belief that 



the monster has received his mortal wound." He 
perceived that this resultant indifference and apathy 
operated to the advantage of slavery, and to the in- 
jury of freedom. Small, therefore, as was the good 
which the Colonization Society was able to achieve, it 
was mixed with no little ill. Although Garrison has 
not yet begun to think on the subject, to examine into 
the motives and purposes of the society, it does not 
take a prophet to foresee that some day he will. He 
had already arrived at conclusions in respect of the 
rights of the colored people "to choose their own 
dwelling place," and against the iniquity of their ex- 
patriation, which cut directly at the roots of the 
colonization scheme. Later the pro-slavery character 
of the society will be wholly revealed to him. But 
truth in the breast of a reformer as of others must 
needs follow the great law of moral growth, first the 
blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. 
It is enough that he has made the tremendous step 
from gradual to immediate and unconditional eman- 
cipation on the soil. 

At this period he tested the disposition of slave- 
holders to manumit their slaves. The Colonization 
Society had given it out that there was no little 
desire on the part of many masters to set their slaves 
free. All that was wanted for a practical domonsta- 
tion in this direction was the assurance of free 
transportation out of the country for the emanci- 
pated slaves. Lundy had made arrangement for the 
transportation of fifty slaves to Hayti and their 
settlement in that country. So he and Garrison 
advertised this fact in the Genius^ but they waited in 
vain for a favorable response from the South — not with- 



standing the following humane inducement which this 
advertisement offered: " The price of passage will be 
ADVANCED, and everything furnished of which they 
may stand in need, until they shall have time to pre- 
pare their houses and set in to work." No master 
was moved to take advantage of the opportunity. 
This was discouraging to the believers in the efficacy 
of colonization as a potent anti-slavery instrument. 
But Garrison was no such believer. With unerring 
moral instinct he had from the start placed his 
reliance on nothing but the eternal principles of 
justice for the speedy overthrow of slavery." 

He obtained at this period an intimate personal 
knowledge of the free colored people. He saw that 
they were not essentially unlike other races — that 
there was nothing morally or intellectually peculiar 
about them, and that the evil or the good which they 
manifested was the common property of mankind in 
similar circumstances. He forthwith became their 
brave defender against the common slanders of the 
times. " There is a prevalent disposition among all 
classes to traduce the habits and morals of our free 
blacks," he remarked in the Genius. " The most 
scandalous exaggerations in regard to their condi- 
tion are circulated by a thousand mischievous 
tongues, and no reproach seems to them too deep or 
unmerited. Vile and malignant indeed is this prac- 
tice, and culpable are they who follow it. We do 
not pretend to say that crime, intemperance, and 
suffering, to a considerable extent, cannot be found 
among the free blacks; but we do assert that they are 
as moral, peaceable, and industrious as that class of 
the whites who are, like them, in indigent circum- 



Stances — and far less intemperate than the great 
body of foreign immigrants who infest and corrupt 
our shores." This idea of the natural equality of the 
races he presented in the Genius a few weeks before 
with Darwinian breadth in the following admirable 
sentences : " I deny the postulate that God has made, 
by an irreversible decree, or any inherent qualities, 
one portion of the human race superior to another. 
No matter how many breeds are amalgamated — no 
matter how many shades of color intervene between 
tribes or nations give them the same chances to 
improve, and a fair start at the same time, and the 
result will be equally brilliant, equally productive, 
equally grand." 

At the same time that he was making active, per- 
sonal acquaintance with the free colored people, he 
was making actual personal acquaintance with the 
barbarism of slavery also. The distinct applica- 
tion of a whip, and the shrieks of anguish " of the 
slave, his residence in Baltimore had taught him was 
" nothing uncommon " in that city. Such an instance 
had come to him while in the street where the office 
of the Genius was located. It was what was occur- 
ing at almost all hours of the day and in almost all 
parts of the town. He had not been in Baltimore 
a month when he saw a specimen of the brutality of 
slavery on the person of a negro, who had been merci- 
lessly flogged. On his back were thirty-seven gashes 
made with a cowskin, while on his head were many 
bruises besides. It was a Sunday morning, fresh 
from his terrible punishment, that the poor fellow 
had found the editors of the Genius, who, with the 
compassion of brothers, took him in, dressed his 



wounds, and cared for him for two days. Such an 
experience was no new horror to Lundy, but it was 
doubtless Garrison's first lesson in that line, and it 
sank many fathoms deep into his heart. 

Maryland was one of the slave-breeding States and 
Baltimore a slave emporium. There was enacted the 
whole business of slavery as a commercial enterprise. 
Here the human chattels were brought and here 
warehoused in jails and other places of storage and 
detention. Here they were put up at public auction, 
and knocked down to the highest bidder, and from 
here they were shipped to New Orleans, the great 
distributing center for such merchandise. He heard 
what Lundy had years before heard, the wail of 
captive mothers and fathers, wives, husbands and 
children, torn from each other ; like Lundy, " he 
felt their pang of distress ; and the iron entered his 
soul." He could not hold his peace in the midst of 
such abominations, but boldly exposed and denounced 
them. His indignation grew hot when he saw that 
Northern vessels were largely engaged in the coast- 
wise slave-trade ; and when, to his amazement, he 
learned that the ship Francis, owned by Francis 
Todd, a Newburyport merchant, had sailed for New 
Orleans with a gang of seventy-five slaves, his indig- 
nation burst into blaze. He blazoned the act and 
the name of Francis Todd in the Genius^ and did 
verily what he had resolved to do, viz., to cover with 
thick infamy all who were concerned in this nefari- 
ous business," the captain as well as the owner of the 
ill-freighted ship. He did literally point at these 
men the finger of scorn. Every device known to the 
printer's art for concentrating the reader's attention 



Upon particular words and sentences, Garrison made 
skillful use of in his articles — from the deep damna- 
tion of the heavy black capitals in which he printed 
the name Francis Todd, to the small caps in which 
appeared the words, " sentenced to solitary confine- 
ment for life," and which he flanked with two terrible 
indices. But the articles did not need such embel- 
lishment. They were red hot branding irons without 
them. One can almost smell the odor of burning 
flesh as he reads the words: " It is no worse to fit 
out piratical cruisers or to engage in the foreign 
slave-trade, than to pursue a similar trade along our 
coast ; and the men who have the wickedness to par- 
ticipate therein, for the purpose of keeping up wealth 
should be sentenced to solitary confinement 
FOR LIFE ; ^^^J t^ey are the enemies of their own species 
— highway robbers^ and murderers ; and their final 
doom will be, unless they speedily repent, to occupy 
the lowest depths of perdition. I know that our laws 
make a distinction in this matter. I know that the 
man who is allowed to freight his vessel with slaves 
at home, for a distant market, would be thought 
worthy of death if he should take a similar freight 
on the coast of Africa ; but I know, too, that this 
distinction is absurd, and at war with the common 
sense of mankind, and that God and good men regard 
it with abhorrence. 

" I recollect that it was always a mystery in New- 
buryport how Mr. Todd contrived to make profitable 
voyages to New Orleans and other places, when other 
merchants, with as fair an opportunity to make 
money, and sending to the same ports at the same 
time invariably made fewer successful speculations. 



The mystery seems to be unravelled. Any man can 
gather up riches if he does not care by what means 
they are obtained." 

A copy of the Genius^ containing this article Garri- 
son sent to the owner of the ship Francis. What fol- 
lowed made it immediately manifest that the brand- 
ing irons of the reformer had burned home with scar- 
ifying effect. Mr. Todd^s answer to the strictures 
was a suit at law against the editors of the Genius for 
five thousand dollars in damages. But this was not 
all. The Grand Jury for Baltimore indicted them for 
publishing " a gross and malicious libel against 
Francis Todd and Nicholas Brown." This was at the 
February Term, 1830. On the first day of March fol- 
lowing, Garrison was tried. He was ably and elo- 
quently defended by Charles Mitchell, a young law- 
yer of the Baltimore Bar. But the prejudice of judge 
and jury rendered the verdict of guilty a foregone 
conclusion. April 17, 1830, the Court imposed a pen- 
alty of fifty dollars and costs, which, with the fine 
amounted in all to nearly one hundred dollars. The 
fine and costs Garrison could not pay, and he was 
therefore committed to jail as a common malefactor. 
His confinement lasted seven weeks. He did not 
languish during this period. His head and hands 
were in fact hardly ever more active than during the 
term of his imprisonment. Shut out by Maryland 
justice from work without the jail, he found and did 
that which needed to be done within high walls and 
huge." He was an extraordinary prisoner and was 
treated with extraordinary consideration by the War- 
den. He proved himself a genuine evangel to the 
prisoners, visiting them in their cells, cheering them 



by his bouyant and benevolent words, giving them 
what he had, a brother's sympathy, which to these ill- 
fated ones, was more than gold or silver. He indited 
for such of them as he deemed deserving, letters and 
petitions to the Governor praying their pardon ; and 
he had the great satisfaction of seeing many of his 
efforts in this regard crowned with success. 

But more than this his imprisonment afforded him 
an opportunity for a closer acquaintance with the 
barbarism of slavery than he could possibly have 
made had he lived otherwise in Baltimore. A South- 
ern jail was not only the place of detention of 
offenders against social justice, but of slaves waiting 
for the next market-day, of recaptured fugitives wait- 
ing for their owners to reclaim them. Here they were 
huddled and caged, pitiful and despairing in their 
misery. Such scenes sickened the young reformer 
every day. God had opened to him the darkest chap- 
ter in the book of the negroes' wrongs. Here is a page 
from that black volume of oppression and cruelty, the 
record of which he has preserved in the following 
graphic narrative : " During my late incarceration 
in Baltimore prison, four men came to obtain a run- 
away slave. He was brought out of his cell to con- 
front his master, but pretended not to know him — 
did not know that he had ever seen him before — could 
not recollect his name. Of course the master was 
exceedingly irritated. * Don't you remernber,' said 
he, * when I gave you not long since thirty-nine lashes 
under the apple-tree? Another time when I gave you 
a sound flogging in the barn ? Another time when 
you was scourged for giving me the lie, by saying 
that the horse was in a good condition ? ' * Yes,' 



replied the slave, whose memory was thus quickened, 
*I do recollect. You have beaten me cruelly without 
cause ; you have not given me enough to eat 
and drink ; and I don't want to go back again. 
I wish you to sell me to another master. I 
had rather even go to Georgia than to return 
home !' 

"Til let you know, you villain,* said the master, 
* that my wishes and not yours, are to be consulted. 
I'll learn you how to run away again.* " 

The other men advised him to take the black 
home, and cut him up in inch pieces for his impu- 
dence, obstinacy, and desertion — swearing tremen- 
dously all the while. The slave was ordered back to 
his cell. Then ensued the following colloquy between 
Garrison and the master: 

G. — " Sir, what right have you to that poor crea- 

M. — " My father left him to me.'* 

G. — " Suppose your father had broken into a bank 
and stolen ten thousand dollars, and safely be- 
queathed that as a legacy; could you conscientiously 
keep the money ? For myself, I had rather rob 
any bank to an indefinite amount than kidnap a 
fellow-being, or hold him in bondage ; the sin would 
be less injurious to society, and less sinful in the 
sight of God." 

M. — " Perhaps you would like to buy the slave 
and give him his liberty ? '* 

G. — "Sir, I am a poor man; and were I ever so 
opulent, it would be necessary, on your part, to make 
out a clear title to the services of the slave before I 
could conscientiously make a bargaia " 



M — " Well, sir, I can prove from the Bible that 
slavery is right." 

G. — "Ah! that is a precious book — the rule of con- 
duct. I have always supposed that its spirit was 
directly opposed to everything in the shape of fraud 
and oppression. However, sir, I should be glad to 
hear your text." 

M. (hesitatingly) — Ham — Noah's curse, you 

G. (hastily) — " Oh, sir, you build on a very slender 
foundation. Granting even — what remains to be 
proved — that the Africans are the descendants of 
Ham, Noah's curse was a prediction of future servi- 
tude, and not an injunction to oppress. Pray, sir, is 
it a careful desire to fulfill the Scriptures, or to make 
money, that induces you to hold your fellow-men in 
bondage ? " 

M. (excitedly) — "Why, sir, do you really think that 
the slaves are beings like ourselves ? — that is, I mean 
do you believe that they possess the same faculties 
and capacities as the whites ? " 

G. (energetically) — " Certainly, sir, I do not know 
that there is any moral or intellectual quality in the 
curl of the hair, or the color of the skin. I cannot 
conceive why a black man may not as reasonably ob- 
ject to my color, as I to his. Sir, it is not a black 
face that I detest, but a black heart — and I find it 
very often under a white skin." 

M. (derisively) — " Well, sir, how should you like to 
see a black man President of the United States ? " 

G. (severely) — " As to that, sir, I am a true Repub- 
lican, and bow to the will of the majority. If the 
people prefer a black President, I should cheerfully 


submit ; and if he be qualified for the station, may 
perad venture give him my vote." 

M. (triumphantly) — " How should you like to have 
a black man marry your daughter ? " 

G. (making a home thrust and an end of the dia- 
logue) — " I am not married — I have no daughter. 
Sir, I am not familiar with your practices ; but allow 
me to say, that slaveholders generally should be the 
last persons to affect fastidiousness on that point ; for 
they seem to be enamored with amalgamation.'' 

Garrison's pen was particularly busy during the 
term of his imprisonment. He paid his respects to 
the State's Attorney who prosecuted him, to the judge 
who condemned him, and to Francis Todd, the owner 
of the ship Francis. He prepared and scattered 
broadcast a true account of his trial, showing how 
the liberty of the press had been violated in the case. 
He did not doubt that it would astonish Europe if it 
were known there "that an American citizen lies in- 
carcerated in prison^ for having denounced slavery and 
its abettors in his own country.'' The fact created no 
little astonishment in America. Slavery became dis- 
tinctly connected for the first time with abridgments 
of the freedom of the press, and the right of free 
speech. And the cause of the slave became involved 
with the Constitutional liberties of the republic. In 
punishing Garrison, the Abolitionist, the rights of 
Garrison the white freeman were trampled on. And 
white freemen in the North, who cared nothing for 
Abolitionism, but a great deal for their right to speak 
and write freely, resented the outrage. This fact was 
tne most important consequence, which flowed from 
the trial and imprisonment of the young editor of 



The Genius of Universal E77iancipation. "As the news 
of my imprisonment became extensively known," he 
wrote, " and the merits of the case understood, not a 
mail rolled into the city but it brought me con- 
solatary letters from individuals hitherto unknown to 
me, and periodicals of all kinds from every section 
of the Union (not even excepting the South), all 
uniting to give me a triumphant acquittal — all 
severely reprehending the conduct of Mr. Todd — 
and all regarding my trial as a mockery of justice." 
This unexpected result was one of those accidents of 
history, which " have laws as fixed as planets have." 

The prosecution and imprisonment of Garrison 
was without doubt designed to terrorize him into 
silence on the subject of slavery. But his persecutors 
had reckoned without a knowledge of their victim. 
Garrison had the martyr's temperament and invinci- 
bility of purpose. His earnestness burned the more 
intensely with the growth of opposition and peril. 
Within " gloomy walls close pent," he warbled gay 
as a bird of a freedom which tyrants could not touch, 
nor bolts confine: 

" No chains can bind it, and no cell enclose, 
Swifter than light, it flies from pole to pole. 
And in a flash from earth to heaven it goes ! " 

or with deep, stern gladness sang he to " The Guiltless 
Prisoner" how: 

" A martyr's crown is richer than a king's ! 
Think it an honor with thy Lord to bleed. 
And glory 'midst intensest sufferings; 
Though beat — imprisoned — put to open shame 
Time shall embalm and magnify thy name." 

" Is it supposed by Judge Brice," the guiltless pris- 



oner wrote from his cell, that his frowns can intimi- 
date me, or his sentence stifle my voice on the sub- 
ject of African oppression? He does not know me. 
So long as a good Providence gives me strength and 
intellect, I will not cease to declare that the existence 
of slavery in this country is a foul reproach to the 
American name ; nor will I hesitate to proclaim the 
guilt of kidnappers, slave abettors, or slaveowners, 
wheresoever they may reside, or however high 
they may be exalted. I am only in the alphabet 
of my task ; time shall perfect a useful work. 
It is my shame that I have done so little for the 
people of color; yea, before God, I feel humbled 
that my feelings are so cold, and my language 
so weak. A few white victims must be sacri- 
ficed to open the eyes of this nation, and to show 
the tyranny of our laws. I expect and am willing to 
be persecuted, imprisoned, and bound for advocating 
African rights ; and I should deserve to be a slave 
myself if I shrunk from that duty or danger." The 
story of the trial of William Lloyd Garrison, from 
which the above brave words are taken, fell into the 
hands of that noble man and munificent merchant, 
Arthur Tappan, of New York. From the reading of 
it he rose with that deep feeling of abhorrence of 
slavery and its abettors which every one must feel 
who is capable of appreciating the blessings of 
liberty," and thereupon notified Lundy to draw upon 
him for one hundred dollars if that amount would 
give the young editor his liberty. The fine and costs 
of court were accordingly paid and just forty-nine 
days after entering Baltimore jail a prisoner, Garrison 
recovered his freedom. The civil action of Todd 



against him was still pending. Nothing daunted 
Garrison went North two days after his discharge to 
obtain certain evidence deemed important by his 
counsel to his defence. He took with him an open 
letter from Lundy looking to the renewal of the 
the weekly Genius under their joint control. Prior 
to Garrison's trial the paper had fallen into great 
stress for want of money. Lundy and he had made 
a division of their labors, the latter doing the editor- 
ial and office work, while the former traveled from 
place to place soliciting subscriptions and collecting 
generally the sinews of war. But the experiment 
was not successful from a business standpoint. For 
as Garrison playfully observed subsequently : 
" Where friend Lundy could get one new subscriber, 
I could knock a doze7i off, and I did so. It was the 
old experiment of the frog in the well, that went two 
feet up and fell three feet back, at every jump." 
Where the income of the paper did not exceed fifty 
dollars in four months and the weekly expenditure 
amounted to at least that sum, the financial failure of 
the enterprise was inevitable. This unhappy event 
did actually occur six weeks before the junior editor 
went to jail ; and the partnership was formally dis- 
solved in the issue of the Genius of March 5, 1830. 
But when Arthur Tappan made his generous offer of 
a hundred dollars to effect Garrison's release, he 
made at the same time an offer of an equal amount 
to aid the editors in reestablishing the Genius. This 
proposition led to hopes on the part of the two 
friends to a renewal of their partnership in the cause 
of emancipation. And so Garrison's visit to the 
North was taken advantage of to test the disposition 



of Northern philanthropy to support such a paper. 
But what he found was a sad lack of interest in the 
slave. Everywhere he went he encountered what 
appeared to him to be the most monstrous indifference 
and apathy on the subject. The prejudices of the free 
States seemed to him stronger than were those of 
the South. Instead of receiving aid and encourage- 
ment to continue the good work of himself and coad- 
jutor, and for the doing of which he had served a term 
of seven weeks in prison, men, even his best friends 
sought to influence him to give it up, and to persuade 
him to forsake the slave, and to turn his time and 
talents to safer and more profitable enterprises nearer 
home. He was informed by these worldly wise men 
and Job's counselors that his " scheme was visionary, 
fanatical, unattainable." "Why should he make 
himself," they argued, "an exile from home and all 
that be held dear on earth, and sojourn in a strange 
land, among enemies whose hearts were dead to every 
noble sentiment?" Ah ! he himself confessed that all 
were against his return to Baltimore. But his love 
of the slave was stronger than the strength of the 
temptation. He put all these selfish objections behind 
him. As he has recorded the result of this experience : 
" Opposition served only to increase my ardor, and 
confirm my purpose." Strange and incomprehensible 
to his fellows is the man who prefers " persecution, 
reproach, and poverty " with duty, to worldly ease 
and honor and riches without it. When a man 
appears in society who is not controlled by motives 
which usually govern the conduct of other men he 
becomes at first an object of pity, then of contempt, 
and, lastly, of hate. Garrison we may be sure at the 



end of this visit had made rapid transit from the first 
to the second of these stages in the esteem of his 

His experience was not all of this deplorable kind. 
He left Baltimore without the money required to pay 
his way North, depending literally upon the good 
God to provide for him the necessary means to com- 
plete his journey. And such help was more than 
once providentially afforded the young apostle of lib- 
erty. At New York, when he did not know how he 
was to go farther for want of means, he met a Mr. 
Samuel Leggett who gave him a pass on the " splendid 
steamboat President.'" It seems that this friend in his 
need had read with indignation the story of his trial. 
The bread which he had scattered from his prison on 
the waters of public sentiment had thus returned to 
him after many days in the timely assistance of a 
sympathetic soul. And then, again, when he was in 
Boston in sore distress for a little money, suddenly, 
beautifully, the desire of his heart was satisfied. But 
let him tell the incident in his own touching way. 
His face was turned toward Baltimore : " But how 
was I to return?" he asks. "I had not a dollar in 
my pocket, and my time was expired. No one under- 
stood my circumstances. I was too proud to beg, and 
ashamed to borrow. My friends were prodigal of 
pity, but of nothing else. In the extremity of my 
uneasiness, I went to the Boston post-office, and found 
a letter from my friend Lundy, inclosing a draft for 
$ioo from a stranger and as a remuneration for my 
poor inefficient services in behalf of the slaves !" The 
munificent stranger was Ebenezer Dole, of Hallowell, 
Maine. Money thus acquired was a sacred trust to 


this child of Providence. After deducting the 
expenses of traveling," he goes on to say, " the 
remainder of the above-named sum was applied 
in discharging a few of the debts incurred by the 
unproductiveness of the Genius^ 

Garrison returned to Baltimore, but he did not 
tarry long in that slave-ruled city. Todd's suit 
against him was tried after his departure, and the 
jury soothed the Newburyport merchant's wounded 
pride with a verdict for a thousand dollars. He never 
attempted, however, to enforce the payment of the 
same being content probably with the "vindication," 
which his legal victory gave him. 

Before the reformer left Baltimore he had definitely 
abandoned the plans looking to a revival of his inter- 
est in the Genius. He determined instead to publish 
a sheet devoted to the abolition of slavery under his 
sole management and control. This paper he pro- 
posed to call the Public Liberator^ and to issue from 
Washington. The prospectus of this journalistic 
project bearing date, August, 1830, declares in its 
opening sentence its " primary object" to be " the 
abolition of slavery, and the moral and intellectual 
elevation of our colored population." I shall spare 
no efforts," he pledged himself, to delineate the 
withering influence of slavery upon our national 
prosperity and happiness, its awful impiety, its rapid 
extension, and its inevitable consequences if it be 
suffered to exist without hindrance. It will also be 
my purpose to point out the path of safety, and a 
remedy for the disease." This comprehensive and 
aggressive plan of campaign signalized the rise of an 
Abolitionism wholly unlike the Abolitionism of any 



previous time in the history of the country. It did 
in fact date the opening of a new era in the slavery 
struggle in America. 

With Northern indifference and apathy on the sub- 
ject of emancipation, Garrison's previous visit to the 
North had acquainted him. Their existence he saw 
interposed the main obstacle to the success of his 
new venture in journalism. " The cause of this cal- 
lous state of feeling," he believed, " was owing to 
their exceeding ignorance of the horrors of slavery." 
He accordingly made up his mind to throw the light 
which he possessed into the midst of this darkness. He 
had written in prison three lectures on " Slavery and 
Colonization." What better could he now do than to 
deliver those lectures at the North? If the good people 
and their religious leaders knew what he knew, they 
would presently feel as he did on the question. He was 
loath to leave Baltimore without giving this testi- 
mony against slavery. But unable to procure a room 
for this purpose was finally compelled to content him- 
self with the witness he had already borne in the 
Genius and in prison in behalf of the slave. In Phila- 
delphia he well-nigh failed to obtain a hall for his 
lectures, but did finally succeed in getting the Frank- 
lin Institute, where, to small audiences, he lifted up 
his voice against the iniquity of the times. He re- 
peated his lectures in New York, New Haven, and 
Hartford. But not many came out to hear him. 
The nation, its churches, and politicians had thrust 
their fingers in their ears to every cry coming up 
from the slave. Why should they go to sup with a 
madman on horrors, with which as patriotic people 
they were forbidden to concern themselves. And so 



for the most part Garrison could do nothing with 
communities, which had eyes, but obstinately refused 
to see with them upon any subject relating to the 
abominations of slavery. In his own town of New- 
buryport, officers of Christian churches not only re- 
fused to hear his message themselves, but debarred 
others from listening to the woes and wrongs of fel- 
low-creatures in bondage. As Mr. Garrison truly 
said at the time : " If I had visited Newburyport to 
plead the cause of twenty white men in chains, every 
hall and every meeting-house would have been 
thrown open, and the fervor of my discourses antici- 
pated and exceeded by my fellow-townsmen. The 
fact that two millions of colored beings are groaning 
in bondage, in this land of liberty, excites no interest 
nor pity." If these damning facts are remembered 
sixty years after their occurrence to the shame of 
the trustees of the two churches, viz., the Presbyterian 
Church on Harris street and the Second Congrega- 
tional Church, it is also remembered to the honor of 
the two pastors. Rev. Dr. Daniel Dana, and the Rev. 
Dr. Luther F. Dimmick, that they had thrown open 
to the prophet the doors of their meeting-houses, 
which the trustees afterward slammed in his face. 

In Boston the same hard luck followed him. In 
all that city of Christian churches he could not ob- 
tain the use of a single meeting-house, "in which to 
vindicate the rights of TWO MILLIONS of Ameri- 
can citizens, who are now groaning in servile chains 
in this boasted land of liberty ; and also to 
propose just, benevolent, and constitutional meas- 
ures for their relief." So ran an advertisement 
in the Boston Courier of the sorely tried soul. For 



two weeks he had gone up and down the town in 
search of a room free of cost, in which to deliver his 
message. The door of every sanctuary was locked 
against his cause. It was then, as a final recourse, 
that he turned to the Courier, and made his last ap- 
peal to the Christian charity of the city. The prayer 
of the prophet was answered from an unexpected 
quarter. It was that ecclesiastical dragon of the 
times, Abner Kneeland, and his society of " blas- 
phemers," who proved afresh the truth of that 
scripture which says : " Not every one that saith unto 
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father 
which is in heaven." It was they that gave to liberty 
a hearing, to the prophet of righteousness a chance 
to deliver his message. It was in their meeting- 
house, in Julian Hall, that Garrison gave his lectures, 
giving the first one on the evening of October 15, 

Samuel J. May, who was present, has preserved his 
impressions of the lecture and lecturer. " Never 
before," he records many years afterward, " was I so 
affected by the speech of man. When he had ceased 
speaking I said to those around me : ' That is a 
providential man ; he is a prophet ; he will shake 
our nation to its center, but he will shake slavery out 
of it. We ought to know him, we ought to help 
him. Come, let us go and give him our hands.' Mr. 
Sewall and Mr. Alcott went up with me and we 
introduced each other. I said to him, * Mr. Garrison, 
I am not sure that I can indorse all you have said 
this evening. Much of it requires careful considera- 
tion. But I am prepared to embrace you. I am 


sure you are called to a great work, and I mean to 
help you.' Mr. Sewall cordially assured him of his 
readiness also to cooperate with him. Mr. Alcott 
invited him to his home. He went and we sat with 
him until twelve that night, listening to his discourse, 
in which he showed plainly that immediate^ uncondi- 
tional emancipation^ without expatriation^ was the right of 
every slave ^ and could not be withheld by his ??iaster an 
hour without sin. That night my soul was baptised 
in his spirit, and ever since I have been a disciple and 
fellow-laborer of William Lloyd Garrison." A new 
force had arisen in our history, and a new epoch 
had broken bolts for humanity. 



The providential man was not yet twenty-five. In 
personal appearance he was quite the reverse of his 
friend Lundy. Garrison was gifted with a body 
that matched his mind, strong, straight, sound in 
every part, and proportioned in every member. As 
he stood he was much above the medium height. 
His dark hair had already partially left the crown of 
the high dome-shaped head. His forehead com- 
bined height with breadth, which, taken in connec- 
tion with the brown eyes covered with the now 
habitual glasses, lent to his countenance a striking 
air of moral serenity and elevation. Force, firm- 
ness, no ordinary self-reliance and courage found 
masterly expression in the rest of the face. There 
was through the whole physical man a nice blending 
of strength and delicacy of structure. The impres- 
sion of fineness and finish was perhaps mainly owing 
to the woman-like purity and freshness of skin and 
color, which overspread the virile lines and features 
of the face from brow to chin. What one saw in that 
face was the quality of justice made flesh, good-will 
to men personified. 

This characterization of the reformer's counte- 
nance may be considered absurd by some readers. 
But absurd it is not. People who had read his stern 




denunciations of slave-holding and slaveholders, and 
who had formed their image of the man from his 
"hard language " and their own prejudices could not 
recognize the original when they met him. His man- 
ner was peculiarly winning and attractive, and in 
personal intercourse almost instantly disarmed hos- 
tility. The even gentleness of his rich voice, his un- 
failing courtesy and good temper, his quick eye for 
harmless pleasantries, his hearty laugh, the Quaker- 
like calmness, deliberateness, and meekness, with 
which he would meet objections and argue the right- 
eousness of his cause, his sweet reasonableness and 
companionableness were in strange contrast to popu- 
lar misconceptions and caricatures of him. No one 
needed to be persuaded, who had once conversed 
with him, that there was no hatred or vindictiveness 
in his severities of language toward slaveholders. 
That he was no Jacobin, no enemy of society, was 
perceived the moment one looked into his grave, 
kind face, or caught the warm accents of his pacific 
tones, or listened to the sedate intensity, and human- 
ity of his discourses on the enormity of American 
slavery as they fell from him in conversations between 
man and man. Here is a case in point, a typical in- 
cident in the life of the reformer ; it occurred, it is 
true, when he was twenty-seven, but it might have 
occurred at twenty-five quite as well ; it is narrated 
by Samuel J. May in his recollections of the anti- 
slavery conflict : On his way from New York to 
Philadelphia with Garrison, Mr. May fell into a dis- 
cussion with a pro-slavery passenger on the vexed 
question of the day. There was the common pro- 
slavery reasoning, which May answered as well as he 



was able. Presently Mr. Garrison drew near the dis- 
putants, whereupon May took the opportunity to 
shift the anti-slavery burden of the contention to his 
leader's shoulders. All of his most radical and un- 
popular Abolition doctrines Garrison immediately 
proceeded to expound to his opponent. " After a 
long conversation," says Mr. May, which attracted 
as many as could get within hearing, the gentleman 
said, courteously : * I have been much interested, sir, 
in what you have said, and in the exceedingly frank 
and temperate manner in which you have treated the 
subject. If all Abolitionists were like you, there would 
be much less opposition to your enterprise. But, sir, 
depend upon it, that hair-brained, reckless, violent 
fanatic, Garrison, will damage, if he does not ship- 
wreck, any cause.' Stepping forward, I replied, ' Allow 
me, sir, to introduce you to Mr. Garrison, of whom 
you entertain so bad an opinion. The gentleman 
you have been talking with is he.* " 

Or take Harriet Martineau's first impressions on 
seeing him. His aspect put to flight in an instant 
what prejudices his slanderers had raised in me. I 
was wholly taken by surprise. It was a countenance 
glowing with health, and wholly expressive of purity, 
animation and gentleness. I did not wonder at the 
citizen who, seeing a print of Garrison at a shop win- 
dow without a name to it, went in and bought it, and 
framed it as the most saintlike of countenances." 

The appearance of such a man on the stage of our 
history as a nation, at this hour, was providential. 
His coming was in the fulness of time. A rapid re- 
view of events anterior to the advent of Garrison will 
serve to place this matter more clearly before the 



general reader. To begin, then, at the beginning we 
have two ships off the American coast, the one casting 
anchor in Plymouth harbor, the other discharging its 
cargo at Jamestown. They were both freighted with 
human souls. But how different ! Despotism landed 
at Jamestown, democracy at Plymouth. Here in the 
germ w^as the Southern idea, slave labor, slave institu- 
tions ; and here also was the Northern idea, free labor, 
free institutions. Once planted they grew, each seed 
idea multiplying after its kind. In course of time 
there arose on one side an industrial system in which 
the plantation principle, race-rule and race-slavery, 
were organic centers ; and, on the other, a social 
system in which the principle of popular power and 
government, the town meeting, and the common school 
were the ganglia of social expansion. Contrary ideas 
beget naturally enough contrary interests and insti- 
tutions. So it is no matter for surprise that the local 
interests and institutions of the thirteen revolted 
colonies lacked homogeneity and identity. What 
was calculated to promote the general welfare of the 
Northern one, it was quite possible might work a 
totally opposite result in the Southern. For, indeed, 
while there were slaves in them all, the slave system 
had taken root in Southern soil only ; and while on 
the other hand the spirit of freedom was existent in 
each, free labor had rooted itself in Northern ground 

As the war of the Revolution was an uprising 
against arbitrary power, and for the establishment of 
political liberty, it pushed easily into the foreground 
the larger subject of human rights. Most of the 
leading actors felt the inconsistency of keeping some 



men in bondage, when they were fighting to rid them- 
selves of a tyranny which, in comparison to the other, 
was a state of honorable freedom. Their humanity 
condemned African slavery, and they earnestly de- 
sired its extinction. The Declaration of Independ- 
ence proves to how high a level the tide of freedom rose 
in the colonies. The grand truths by it proclaimed 
the signers of that instrument did not restrict in their 
application to some men to the exclusion of other 
men. They wrote " All men," and they meant ex- 
actly what they wrote. Too simply honest and great 
they were to mean less than their solemn and deliber- 
ate words. 

On political as well as on moral grounds they de- 
sired emancipation. But there was a difficulty which 
at the time proved insuperable. The nation-making 
principle, the idea of country, was just emerging out 
of the nebulous civil conditions and relations of the 
ante-Revolutionary epoch. There was no existent 
central authority to reach the evil within the States 
except the local governments of the States respect- 
ively. And States in revolt against the central au- 
thority of the mother country would hardly be dis- 
posed to divest themselves of any part of their newly 
asserted right to govern themselves for the purpose 
of conferring the same upon any other political body. 
To each State, then, the question was necessarily left 
for settlement. 

The war, during its continuance, absorbed the 
united resources and energies of the people and their 
leaders. The anti-slavery movement made accord- 
ingly but small progress. Reforms thrive only when 
they get a hearing. Public attention is the food on 



which they thrive. But precious little of this food 
was the Abolition cause able to snatch in those bitter 
years. It could not grow. It remained in the gristle 
— hardly more than a sentiment. But the sentiment 
was a seed, the promise and potency of kindlier times. 
With the close of the long struggle other questions 
arose; got the people's ears; fixed the attention of the 
leaders. Scant notice could emancipation extort from 
men who had to repair the ravages of an exhausting 
war, reconstruct shattered fortunes, restore civil soci- 
ciety in parts tumbling into ruinous disorder. The 
instinct of self-preservation was altogether too mas- 
terful for the moral starveling. It succumbed to cir- 
cumstances, content to obtain an occasional sermon, 
an annual address, a few scattered societies to keep a 
human glow in the bosom of the infant Confederacy. 

The Confederation failed. The formation of a 
more perfect union was demanded and undertaken. 
This transcendent task straightway thrust into the 
background every other enterprise and interest. The 
feeble activity of the freedom-making principle was 
checked, for the time being, by the energy of the 
nation-making power. They were not antagonistic 
forces — only in the natural order of things, the earli- 
est stages in the evolution of the former had to come 
after the first steps were taken in the development of 
the latter. Before there could start a general move- 
ment against American slavery there must needs be 
an American nation. An American nation was, in 
the year 1787, in process of successful development. 
With the adoption of the Constitution, the national 
principle entered on a period of marvelous expan- 
sion and activity. 



Let it not, however, be hastily concluded that free- 
dom meanwhile was in total eclipse, that the anti- 
slavery sentiment was absolutely without influence 
For it unquestionably inspired the Ordinance of 1787. 
The Northwest Territory, out of which were subse- 
quently organized the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illin- 
ois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, was thereby, forever 
secured to the Northern idea, and free labor. Sup- 
plementary to this grand act was the Constitutional 
prohibition of the African slave-trade after the year 
1808. Together they were intended to discourage 
the growth of slavery — the first by restricting its ter- 
ritorial extension, the second, by arresting its numer- 
ical increase. And without doubt they would have 
placed the evil in the way of ultimate extinction had 
other and far reaching causes not intervened to pro- 
duce adverse social and political conditions. 

The first of these causes, in point of time, were cer- 
tain labor-saving inventions in England, which vastly 
enhanced the demand for raw cotton. Arkwright's 
invention of the spinning machine about twenty years 
prior to the adoption of the Constitution, perfected 
by the spinning-jenny of Hargreaves, and the mule 
of Crompton, " turned Lancashire," the historian 
Green says, " into a hive of industry." The then rapid 
demand for cotton operated in time as a stimulus 
to its production in America. Increased produc- 
tivity raised the value of slave property and slave 
soil. But the slow and tedious hand method of sep- 
arating the fiber of the cotton bulb from the seed 
greatly limited the ability of the Cotton States to 
meet and satisfy the fast growing demand of the 
English manufacturers, until Eli Whitney, in 1793, by 



an ingenious invention solved the problem of supply 
for these States. The cotton gin was not long in 
proving itself the other half — the other hand of the 
spinning machine. 

From that year the slave interests of the South 
rose in market value, and its industrial system 
assumed unexpected importance in the economic 
world. The increased production of cotton led 
directly to increased demand for slave labor and 
slave soil. The increased demand for slave labor the 
Constitutional provision relating to the African slave 
trade operated in part to satisfy. The increased 
demand for slave soil was likewise satisfied by the 
cession to the United States by Georgia and North 
Carolina of the Southwest Territory, with provisos 
practically securing it to slavery. Out of this new 
national territory were subsequently carved the slave 
States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. 

Slave soil unlike free soil, is incapable of sustain- 
ing a dense population. Slave labor calls for large 
spaces within which to multiply and prosper. The 
purchase of Louisiana and the acquisition of Florida 
met this agrarian necessity on the part of the South. 
Immense, unsettled areas thus fell to the lot of the 
slave system at the crisis of its material expansion and 
prosperity. The domestic slave-trade under the im- 
petus of settling these vast regions according to the 
plantation principle, became an enormous and spread- 
ing industry. The crop of slaves was not less profit- 
able than the crop of cotton. A Southern white 
man had but to buy a score of slaves and a few hun- 
dred acres to get " rich beyond the dreams of avar- 
ice." So at least calculated the average Southern man. 



This revival of slavery disappointed the humane 
expectation of its decline and ultimate extinction 
entertained by the founders of the republic. It built 
up instead a growing and formidable slave class, and 
interest in the Union. With the rise of giant slave 
interests, there followed the rise of a power devoted 
to their encouragement and protection. 

Three far-reaching concessions the slave States 
obtained in the convention of 1787, viz., the right to 
import slaves from Africa until 1808 ; the rendition 
of fugitive slaves escaping into the free States, and 
the three-fifths slave representation clause of the 
Constitution — all of which added vastly to the 
security and value of this species of property, and 
as a consequence contributed to the slave revival. 

The equality of the States in the upper branch of 
the National Legislature, taken in connection with the 
right of the slave States to count five slaves as three 
freemen in the apportionment of representatives to 
the lower House of Congress, gave the Southern sec- 
tion an almost immediate ascendency in the Federal 
Government. To the South was thus opened by an 
unexpected combination of circumstances a wide 
avenue for the acquisition of fabulous wealth, and to 
Southern public men an incomparable arena for the 
exercise of political abilities and leadership. An 
institution, which thus ministered to two of the 
strongest passions of mankind — avarice and ambi- 
tion — was certain to excite the most intense attach- 
ment. Its safety naturally, therefore, became among 
the slave class an object of prime importance. 
Southern jealousy in this regard ultimated inevitably 
in Southern narrowness, Southern sectionalism, which 



early manifested themselves in the exclusion from 
lead in national affairs of Northern public men, 
reputed to be unfriendly to slavery. Webster as late 
as 1830, protested warmly against this intolerance. 
Like begets like. And the proscribing of anti-slavery 
politicians by the South, created in turn not a little 
sectional feeling at the North, and helped to stimu- 
late there a consciousness of sectional differences, of 
antagonism of interests between the two halves of 
the Union. 

Discontent with the original basis of the Union, 
which had given the South its political coign of 
vantage, broke out first in New England. The occa- 
sion, though not the cause, of this discontent was, 
perhaps, the downfall of the Federal party, whose 
stronghold was in the East. The commercial and 
industrial crisis brought on by the embargo, and 
which beggared, on the authority of Webster, " thou- 
sands of families and hundreds of thousands of indi- 
viduals " fanned this Eastern dissatisfaction into 
almost open disaffection towards a government dom- 
inated by Southern influence, and directed by South- 
ern statesmanship. To the preponderance of this 
Southern element in national legislation New Eng- 
land traced her misfortunes. She was opposed to 
the War of 181 2, but was overruled to her hurt by 
the South. In these circumstances New England 
went for correcting the inequalities of the original 
basis of the Union, which gave to the South its 
undue preponderance in shaping national laws and 
policies. This was the purpose of the Hartford 
Convention, which proposed the abrogation of the 
slave representation clause of the Constitution, and 



the imposition of a check upon the admission of new 
States into the Union. The second proposition did 
not say new slave States," but new slave States was, 
nevertheless, intended by the Convention. Here in 
point of time and magnitude, was the first distinct 
collision of the two sets of ideas and interests of the 

Following the Treaty of Ghent other and imperious 
questions engaged the public attention — questions of 
the tariff, of finance, internal improvements, national 
defence, a new navy, forts and fortifications. Hard 
times, too, engrossed an enormous share of this atten- 
tion. The immediate needs and problems of the 
hour pushed into the background all less pressing 
ones. The slavery question amidst the clamor and 
babel of emergent and material interests, lost some- 
thing of its sectional heat and character. But its 
fires were not extinguished, only banked as events 
were speedily to reveal. 

The application of Missouri for admission into the 
Union as a slave State four years after the Hartford 
Convention blew to a blaze the covered embers of 
strife between the sections. The North was violently 
agitated. For the admission of a new slave State 
meant two more slave votes in the Senate, and an 
increase on the old inequitable basis of slave repre- 
sentation in the lower House of Congress. It meant 
to the Northern section indefinite Southern ascend- 
ency, prolonged Southern lead in national legislation. 
All the smouldering passions of the earlier period, of 
embargo, and non-intercourse, and the war of 1812, 
flamed suddenly and fiercely in the heart of the free 


The length and bitterness of that controversy ex- 
cited the gravest apprehensions for the stability of 
the Union. The dread of disunion led to mutual 
concessions, to the Missouri Compromise. The slave- 
holding section got its immediate claim allowed, and 
the free States secured the erection of a line to the 
north of which slavery was forever prohibited. And 
besides this, the admission of Maine was supposed to 
neutralize whatever political advantages, which would 
accrue to the South from the admission of Missouri 
as a slave State. Both sections were content, and the 
slavery question was thought to be permanently 
settled. With this final disposition of an ugly prob- 
lem, the peace and permanence of the Union were 
viewed universally as fixed facts. Still, considering 
the gravity of the case, a little precaution would not 
go amiss. The slavery question had shaken men's 
faith in the durability of the republic. It was there- 
fore adjudged a highly dangerous subject. The polit- 
ical physicians with one accord prescribed on the 
ounce-of-prevention principle, quiet^ silence, and 
OBLIVION, to be administered in large and increas- 
ing doses to both sections. Mum was the word, and 
mum the country solemnly and suddenly became 
from Maine to Georgia. But, alas! beneath the ashes 
of this Missouri business, deep below the unnatural 
silence and quiet, inextinguishable fires were burning 
and working again to the surface of politics. In such 
circumstances a fresh outbreak of old animosities 
must occur as soon as the subterranean heat should 
reach the point of highest combustibility in the 
federal system. The tariff proved to be that point of 
highest combustibility. 



Alexander Hamilton inaugurated the policy of 
giving governmental aid to infant manufactures. The 
wisdom of diversifying the industries of the young 
nation was acquiesced in by the leading statesmen of 
both sections. Beset as the republic then was by 
international forces hostile to democratic institutions, 
it was natural enough that the great men who pre- 
sided over its early years should seek by Federal legis- 
lation to render it, as speedily and completely as 
possible, industrially self-dependent and self-sup- 
porting. The war of 1812 enforced anew upon the 
attention of statesmen the importance of industrial in- 
dependence. The war debt, together with certain gov- 
ernmental enterprises and expenditures growing out 
of the war, was largely, if not wholly, responsible for 
the tariff of 1816. This act dates the rise of our 
American system of protection. It is curious to note 
that Southern men were the leaders of this new de- 
parture in the national fiscal policy. Calhoun, Clay, 
and Lowndes were the guiding spirits of that period 
of industrial ferment and activity. They little dreamt 
what economic evils were to fall in consequence 
upon the South. That section was not slow to feel 
the unequal action of the protective principle. The 
character of its labor incapacitated the South from 
dividing the benefits of the new revenue policy with 
its free rival. The South of necessity was restricted 
to a single industry, the tillage of the earth. Slave 
labor did not possess the intelligence, the skill, the 
patience, the mechanical versatility to embark suc- 
cessfully in manufacturing enterprises. Free labor 
monopolised the protected industries, and Northern 
capital caught all the golden showers of fiscal legis- 


lation. What the South needed, from an economic 
point of view, was unrestricted access to the markets 
of the world for her products, and the freest competi- 
tion of the world in her own markets. The limitations 
imposed upon the slave States by their industrial 
system was in itself a tremendous handicap in their 
struggle for an advantageous place in the New World 
of the nineteenth century; in their struggle with 
their free sisters for political leadership in the Union. 
But with the development of the protective principle 
those States fell into sore financial distress, were 
ground between the upper millstone of the protective 
system and the nether millstone of their own indus- 
trial system. Prosperity and plenty did presently 
disappear from that section and settled in the North. 
In 1828 Benton drew this dark picture of the state of 
the South : 

" In place of wealth, a universal pressure for money 
was felt ; not enough for common expenses ; the 
price of all property down ; the country drooping 
and languishing ; towns and cities decaying, and the 
frugal habits of the people pushed to the verge of 
universal self-denial for the preservation of their 
family estates." 

He did not hesitate to charge to Federal legislation 
the responsibility for all this poverty and distress, 
for he proceeds to remark that : 

" Under this legislation the exports of the South 
have been made the basis of the Federal revenue. 
The twenty odd millions annually levied upon im- 
ported goods are deducted out of the price of their 
cotton, rice, and tobacco, either in the diminished 
prices which they receive for those staples in foreign 


ports, or in the increased price which they pay for 
the articles they have to consume at home." 

A suffering people are not apt to reason clearly or 
justly on the causes which have brought them to in- 
digence. They feel their wretchedness and reach out 
for a victim. And the law-making power usually 
happens to be that victim. As the distress of the 
South increased, the belief that Federal legislation 
was responsible for it increased likewise. The spread 
and deepening of this conviction in the Southern 
States precipitated among them an ominous crisis in 
their attachment to the Union. Nullification and an 
embittered sectionalism was the hateful legacy 
bequeathed to the republic by the tariff controversy. 
It left the South in a hyper-sensitive state in all mat- 
ters relating to her domestic interests. It left the 
North in a hyper-sensitive condition on all matters 
touching the peace and stability of the Union. The 
silence and oblivion policy on the subject of slavery 
was renewed with tenfold intensity. Ulysses-like the 
free States bound themselves, their right of free 
speech, and their freedom of the press on this subject, 
for fear of the Siren voices which came thrilling on 
every breeze from the South. Quiet was the word, 
and quiet the leaders in Church and State sought to 
enforce upon the people, to the end that the vision of 
" States dissevered, discordant, belligerent, of a land 
rent with civil feuds, or drenched it may be, in fra- 
ternal blood," might not come to pass for their "glor- 
ious Union." 

The increasing friction and heat between the sec- 
tions during twenty-five years, had effected every por- 
tion of the Federal system, and created conditions 


favorable to a violent explosion. Sectional differences 
of a political and industrial complexion, forty years 
had sufficed to develop. Sectional differences of a 
moral and social character forty years had also suf- 
ficed to generate. To kindle all those differences, all 
that mass of combustible feelings and forces into a 
general conflagration a spark only was wanted. And 
out of the glowing humanity of one man the spark 
was suddenly struck. 

It is curious to note that in the year 1829, the very 
year in which William Lloyd Garrison landed in Bal- 
timore, and began the editorship of The Genius of 
Universal Emancipation^ the American Convention, or 
national assembly of the old State societies for the 
abolition of slavery, fell into desuetude. It was as if 
Providence was clearing the debris of an old dispen- 
sation out of the way of the new one which his 
prophet was beginning to herald, as if guarding 
against all possibility of having the new wine, then 
soon to be pressed from the moral vintage of the 
nation, put into old bottles. The Hour for a new 
movement against slavery had come, and with its 
arrival the Man to hail it had also come. 

Other men had spoken and written against slavery, 
and labored for the freedom of the slave before Gar- 
rison had thought upon the subject at all. Washing- 
ton and Jefferson, Franklin, Jay, and Hamilton had 
been Abolitionists before he was born, but theirs was 
a divided interest. The establishment of a more per- 
fect union was the paramount object of their lives. 
John Wesley had denounced slavery in language 
quite as harsh as Garrison's, but his, too, was a 
divided interest, the religious revival of the eight- 



eenth century being his distinctive mission. Benezet, 
Woolman, and Lundy were saints, who had yearned 
with unspeakable sympathy for the black bondmen, 
and were indefatigable in good works in his behalf, 
but they had not that stern and iron quality without 
which reforms cannot be launched upon the attention 
of mankind. What his predecessors lacked, Garrison 
possessed to a marvelous degree — the undivided 
interest, the supremacy of a single purpose, the stern 
stuff out of which the moral reformer is made, and in 
which he is panoplied. They were all his, but there 
was another besides — immediatism. This element 
distinguished the movement against slavery, started 
by him, from all other movements begun before he 
arrived on the stage, for the emancipation of the 
slaves in the Union. 

This doctrine of immediate as opposed to grad- 
ual emancipation, was not original with Gar- 
rison, nor was he the first to enunciate it. More than 
a dozen years before he was converted to it, Rev. 
George Bourne, in " The Book and Slavery Irrecon- 
cilable," had shown that " the system (of slavery) is 
so entirely corrupt that it admits of no cure but by 
a total and immediate abolition. For a gradual emanci- 
pation is a virtual recognition of the right, and es- 
tablishes the rectitude of the practice. If it be just 
for one moment, it is hallowed forever ; and if it be 
inequitable, not a day should it be tolerated." In 
1824, eight years after the publication of Bourne's 
book, and five years before Garrison announced the 
doctrine in the GeniuSy the Rev. James Duncan main- 
tained it, in his " Treatise on Slavery," with no un- 
certainty of sense or conviction. But neither Bourne 


nor Duncan had been able to effect an incarnation of 
the doctrine, without which the good which it aimed 
at could not be achieved. What they failed to effect, 
it is the glory of Garrison that he achieved in his 
own person. He was total a?id inunediate Abolition " 
personified. " Truth is mighty and will prevail," is 
a wise saying and worthy of acceptation. But this 
ultimate prevailing of truth depends mainly upon 
individual effort, applied not intermittently, but 
steadily to a particular segment of the circle of con- 
duct. It is the long, strong, never-ending pull and tug 
upon the wheels of conduct, which marks the great 
reformer. He finds his age or country stuck in some 
Serbonian bog of iniquity. He prays, but he prays 
with his shoulders braced strenuously against the 
body of society, and he does not cease his endeavors 
until a revolution in conduct places his age or country 
on firm ground beyond its Serbonian bog. The com- 
ing of such a man is no accident. When the Hour is 
ready and the Man comes, a new epoch in the life of 
a people arises from the conjunction. Of such vast 
consequence verily was the coming into American 
history of William Lloyd Garrison. 



After leaving Baltimore, Garrison clung patheti- 
cally to the belief that, if he told what he had seen 
of the barbarism of slavery to the North, he would 
be certain to enlist the sympathy and aid of its lead- 
ers, political and ecclesiastical, in the cause of eman- 
cipation. The sequel to his efforts in this regard 
proved that he was never more mistaken in his life. 
He addressed letters to men like Webster, Jeremiah 
Mason, Lyman Beecher, and Dr. Channing, " holding 
up to their view the tremendous iniquity of the land, 
and begging them, ere it should be too late, to inter- 
pose their great power in the Church and State, to 
save our country from the terrible calamities which 
the sin of slavery was bringing upon us." But there 
is no evidence that this appeal produced the feeblest 
ripple in the lives of the two first; and upon the two 
last it was equally barren of result. Dr. Channing, 
indeed, did not take the trouble to hear any one of 
the three lectures of the young philanthropist. Dr. 
Beecher, however, was at the pains to be present at 
the first lecture given at Julien Hall. But he be- 
trayed no real interest in the subject. He had no 
time to devote to anti-slvavery, had, in fine, too many 
irons in the fire already. To this impotent apology 
of the great preacher of immediatism in his dealing 




with all kinds of sin, except the sin of slave-holding, 
for not espousing the cause of the slave, Mr. Garrison 
made his famous retort : 

" Then you had better let all your irons burn than 
neglect your duty to the slave." 

What more did this poor and friendless man, with 
his one idea and his harsh language, know of duties 
and dangers than Daniel Webster, who was busy sav- 
ing the Union; than Lyman Beecher, who was not 
less busy saving souls; or than Dr. Channing, who was 
quite as busy saving liberalism in matters of religion ? 
What folly and presumption it must have seemed to 
these mighty men this attempt of Garrison to impress 
upon them a proper sense of their obligations to their 

Your zeal," said Dr. Beecher to him, with unlim- 
ited condescension of tone — " your zeal is commend- 
able, but you are misguided. If you will give up 
your fanatical notions and be guided by us (the 
clergy) we will make you the Wilberforce of 

And so what was the young man, burning up with 
his one idea, to do in presence of such a failure to 
win these men to the leadership of the anti-slavery 
movement ? He could not hold his peace ; his mes- 
sage he was compelled to deliver in the ears of the 
nation whether its leaders would hear or forbear. 
Perhaps the common people would hearken to what 
the wise and powerful had rejected. At any rate 
they should hear what was resting upon his soul with 
the weight of a great woe, the force of a supreme 
command. But how was he, penniless and friendless, 
to roll from his bosom the burden which was crush- 



ing It ; to pause long enough in the battle for bread 
to fight the battle of the slave ? Ah, if he had money! 
but no money did he have, not a dollar in his pocket ! 
Oh, if he had rich friends who would dedicate their 
riches to the preaching of the gospel of freedom ! but 
alas ! rich friends there were none. Oh, if he could 
cry to the Church for help in this hour of his need ! 
but it was slowly dawning on him that not from the 
Church would help come to his cause; for a grievous 
thing had happened to the Church. The slave gor- 
gon sat staring from the pews, and turning the pul- 
pits to stone, turn'ng also to stone the hearts of the 

Undismayed by the difficulties which were closing 
in around him, Garrison resolutely set himself to 
accomplish his purpose touching the establishment 
of a weekly paper devoted to the abolicion of slavery. 
He had promised in his Prospectus to issue the first 
number of the Public Liberator " as soon as subscrip- 
tions thereto may authorize the attempt." But had 
he waited for the fulfillment of this condition, the 
experiment could never have been tried. When sub- 
scribers did not come in, the paper, he determined 
should go forth all the same. But there are some 
things in the publication of a paper which no man 
can dispense with, which indispensable somethings 
are : types, a press, an office, and an assistant. All 
these requisites were wanting to the man whose sole 
possession seemed an indomitable will, a faith in him- 
self, and in the righteousness of his cause, which noth- 
ing could shake, nor disappointment nor difficulty, 
however great, was able to daunt or deter. To such 
an unconquerable will, to such an invincible faith 


obstacles vanish; the impossible becomes the attain- 
able. As Garrison burned to be about his work, help 
came to him from a man quite as penniless and 
friendless as himself. The man was Isaac Knapp, an 
old companion of his in Newburyport, who had also 
worked with him in the office of the Genius, in Balti- 
more. He was a practical printer, and was precisely 
the sort of assistant that the young reformer needed 
at this juncture in the execution of his purpose ; a 
man like himself acquainted with poverty, and of un- 
limited capacity for the endurance of unlimited hard- 
ships. Together they worked out the financial prob- 
lems which blocked the way to the publication of the 
paper. The partners took an office in Merchants' 
Hall building, then standing on the corner of Con- 
gress and Water streets, Boston, which gave their 
joint enterprise a local habitation. It had already a 
name. They obtained the use of types in the print- 
ing office of the Christian Examiner^ situated in the 
same building. The foreman, Stephen Foster, 
through his ardent interest in Abolition, made the 
three first numbers of the paper possible. The pub- 
lishers paid for the use of the types by working 
during the day at the case in the Examiner's office. 
They got the use of a press from another foreman 
with Abolition sympathies, viz., James B. Yerrington, 
then the printer of the Boston Daily Advocate. Thus 
were obtained the four indispensables to the publica- 
tion of the Liberator — types, a press, an office, and an 

When at length the offspring of such labor and 
sacrifices made its appearance in the world, which 
was on January i, 1831, it was, in point of size, insig- 



nificant enough. It did not look as if its voice would 
ever reach beyond the small dark chamber where it 
saw the light. Picture, oh ! reader, a wee sheet 
with four columns to the page, measuring fourteen 
inches one way and nine and a quarter the other, 
and you will get an idea of the diminutiveness of the 
Liberator on the day of its birth. The very paper on 
which it was printed was procured on credit. To 
the ordinary observer it must have seemed such a weak- 
ling as was certain to perish from inanition in the 
first few months of its struggle for existence in the 
world of journalism. It was domiciled during suc- 
cessive periods in four different rooms of the 
Merchant's Hall building, until it reached No. ii, 
" under the eaves," whence it issued weekly for many 
years to call the nation to repentance. A photographic 
impression of this cradle-room of the anti-slavery 
movement has been left by Oliver Johnson, an eye- 
witness. Says Mr. Johnson : The dingy walls ; 
the small windows, bespattered with printer's ink ; 
the press standing in one corner ; the composing- 
stands opposite ; the long editorial and mailing 
table, covered with newspapers ; the bed of the 
editor and publisher on the floor — all these make 
a picture never to be forgotten." For the first 
eighteen months the partners toiled fourteen hours a 
day, and subsisted " chiefly upon bread and milk, a 
few cakes, and a little fruit, obtained from a baker's 
shop opposite, and a petty cake and fruit shop in the 
basement," and, alas, " were on short commons even at 
that." Amid such hard and grinding poverty was 
the Liberator born. But the great end of the 
reformer glorified the mean surroundings : 


"O truth! O Freedom! how are ye still born 
In the rude stable, in the manger nursed; 
What humble hands unbar those gates of morn 
Through which the splendors of the New Day burst." 

About the brow of this infant crying in the night," 
shone aureole-like the sunlit legend: Our country is the 
world — our countrymen are mankind. The difference be- 
tween this motto of the Liberator and that of the 
Free Press : Our country ^ our whole country^ and nothing 
but our country —measures the greatness of the revolu- 
tion which had taken place in the young editor. 
The grand lesson he had learned, than which there is 
none greater, that beneath diversities of race, color, 
creed, language, there is the one human principle, 
which makes all men kin. He had learned at the age 
of twenty-five to know the mark of brotherhood made 
by the Deity Himself : " Behold ! my brother is man, 
not because he is American or Anglo-Saxon, or white 
or black, but because he is a fellow-man," is the simple, 
sublime acknowledgment, which thenceforth he was 
to make in his word and life. 

It was Mr. Garrison's original design, as we have 
seen, to publish the Liberator from Washington. 
Lundy had, since the issue of the Prospectus for the 
new paper, removed the Genius to the capital of the 
nation. This move of Lundy rendered the establish- 
ment of a second paper devoted to the abolition of 
slavery in the same place, of doubtful utility, but, 
weighty as was this consideration from a mere busi- 
ness point of view, in determining Garrison to locate 
the Liberator in another quarter, it was not decisive. 
Just what was the decisive consideration, he reveals 
in his salutatory address in the Liberator. Here it is : 



During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting 
the minds of the people by a series of discourses on 
the subject of slavery," he confides to the reader, 

every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the 
fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment 
was to be effected in the free States — and particularly 
in New England — than at the South. I found con- 
tempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction 
more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy 
more frozen than among slaveowners themselves. 
Of course there were individual exceptions to the 
contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not 
dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift 
up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the 
nation, within sight of Bunker Hill^ and in the birthplace 
of liberty.'' This final choice of Boston as a base from 
which to operate against slavery was sagacious, and 
of the greatest moment to the success of the experi- 
ment and to its effective service to the cause. 

If the reformer changed his original intention re- 
specting the place of publication for his paper, he made 
no alteration of his position on the subject of slavery. 
" I shall strenuously contend," he declares in the sal- 
utatory, for the immediate enfranchisement of our 
slave population." " In Park Street Church," he goes 
on to add, "on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address 
on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular 
but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize 
this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal 
recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my 
God, of my country, and of my brethren, the poor 
slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timid- 
ity, injustice, and absurdity." 


To those who find fault with his harsh language he 
makes reply : " I will be as harsh as truth, and as 
uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not 
wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. 
No ! no ! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a 
moderate alarm ; tell him to moderately rescue his 
wife from the hands of the ravisher ; tell the mother 
to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into 
which it has fallen — but urge me not to use moder- 
ation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — 
I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not 
retreat a single inch — and I will be heard." Mar- 
tin Luther's ** Here I take my stand," was not braver 
or grander than the " I will be heard," of the Ameri- 
can reformer. It did not seem possible that a young 
man, without influence, without money, standing 
almost alone, could ever make good those courageous 
words. The country, in Church and State, had 
decreed silence on the subject of slavery ; the patriot- 
ism of the North, its commerce, its piety, its labor and 
capital had all joined hands to smother agitation, and 
stifle the discussion of a question that imperilled the 
peace and durability of Webster's glorious Union. 
But one man, tearing the gag from his lips, defying 
all these, cried, ^' Silence, there shall not be ! " and 
forthwith the whole land began to talk on the for- 
bidden theme : 

" O small beginning's ye are great and strong, 
Based on a faithful heart and weariless brain ! 
Ye build the future fair, ye conquer wrong. 
Ye earn the crown, and wear it not in vain!" 



Archimedes with his lever desired a place to stand 
that he might move the world of matter. Garrison 
with his paper, having found a place for his feet, 
demonstrated speedily his ability to push from its 
solid base the world of mind. His plan was very 
simple, viz., to reveal slavery as it then existed in its 
naked enormity, to the conscience of the North, to be 
as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice." 
And so, week after week, he packed in the columns of 
the Liberator facts, the most damning facts, against 
slaveholders, their cruelty and tyranny. He painted 
the woes of the slaves as if he, too, had been a slave. 
For the first time the masters found a man who 
rebuked them as not before had they been rebuked. 
Others may have equivocated, but this man called 
things by their proper names, a spade, a spade, and 
sin, sin. Others may have contented themselves with 
denunciations of the sins and with excuses for the 
sinner, as a creature of circumstances, the victim of 
ancestral transgressions, but this man offered no ex- 
cuses for the slave-holding sinner. Him and his sin he 
denounced in language, which the Eternal puts only 
into the mouths of His prophets. It was, as he had 
said, On this subject I do not wish to think, or 
speak, or write, with moderation." The strength and 
resources of his mother-tongue seemed to him wholly 




inadequate for his needs, to express the transcend- 
ent wickedness of slave-holding. All the harsh, the 
stern, the terrible and tremendous energies of the 
English speech he drew upon, and launched at slave- 
holders. Amid all of this excess of the enthusiast 
there was the method of a calculating mind. He 
aimed to kindle a conflagration because he had ice- 
bergs to melt. " The public shall not be imposed 
upon," he replied to one of his critics, "and men and 
things shall be called by their right names. I retract 
nothing, I blot out nothing. My language is exactly 
such as suits me ; it will displease many, I know ; to 
displease them is my intention." He was philosopher 
enough to see that he could reach the national con- 
science only by exciting the national anger. It was 
not popular rage, which he feared but popular apa- 
thy. If he could goad the people to anger on the 
subject of slavery he would soon be rid of their apa- 
thy. And so week after week he piled every sort of 
combustible material, which he was able to collect on 
board the Liberator and lighting it all, sent the fiery 
messenger blazing among the icebergs of the Union. 
Slaveholders were robbers, murderers, oppressors ; 
they were guilty of all the sins of the decalogue, were 
in a word the chief of sinners. At the same moment 
that the reformer denied their right of property in 
the slave, he attacked their character also, held them 
up in their relation of masters to the reprobation of 
the nation and of mankind as monsters of injustice 
and inhumanity. The tone which he held toward 
them, steadily, without shadow of change, was the 
tone of a righteous man toward the workers of ini- 
quity. The indifference, the apathy, the pro-slavery 



sympathy and prejudice of the free States rendered the 
people of the North hardly less culpable. They were 
working iniquity with the people of the South, This 
was the long, sharp goad, which the young editor 
thrust in between the bars of the Union and stirred 
the guilty sections to quick and savage outbursts of 
temper against him and the bitter truths which he 
preached. Almost directly the proofs came to him 
that he was heard at the South and at the North 
alike. Angry growls reached his ears in the first 
month of the publication of the Liberator from some 
heartless New England editors in denunciation of his 
" violent and intemperate attacks on slaveholders." 
The Journal, published at Louisville, Kentucky, and 
edited by George D. Prentice, declared that, " some 
of his opinions with regard to slavery in the United 
States are no better than lunacy." The American 
Spectator published at the seat of the National Govern- 
ment, had hoped that the good sense of the "late tal- 
ented and persecuted junior editor" of the Genius^ 
would erelong withdraw him even from the side of 
the Abolitionists." And from farther South the growl 
which the reformer heard was unmistakably fero- 
cious. It was from the State of South Carolina and 
the Camden Journal, which pronounced the Liberator 
" a scandalous and incendiary budget of sedition." 
These were the beginning of the chorus of curses, 
which soon were to sing their serpent songs about his 
head. Profane and abusive letters from irate slave- 
holders and their Northern sympathisers began to 
pour into the sanctum of the editor. Within a few 
months after the first issue of the Liberator the whole 
aspect of the world without had changed toward 



him. " Foes are on my right hand, and on my left," 
he reported to some friends. ''The tongue of detrac- 
tion is busy against me. I have no communion with 
the world — the world none with me. The timid, the 
lukewarm, the base, affect to believe that my brains are 
disordered, and my words the ravings of a maniac. 
Even many of my friends — they who have grown up 
with me from my childhood — are transformed into 
scoffers and enemies." The apathy of the press, and 
the apathy of the people were putting forth signs 
that the long winter of the land was passing away. 

To a colored man belongs the high honor of having 
been the coiLvier avant of the slavery agitation. This 
man was David Walker, who lived in Boston, and 
who published in 1829 a religio-political discussion 
of the status of the negroes of the United States in 
four articles. The wretchedness of the blacks in con- 
sequence of slavery he depicted in dark and bitter 
language. Theodore Parker, many years afterward, 
said that the negro was deficient in vengeance, the 
lowest form of justice. " Walker's Appeal " evinced 
no deficiency in this respect in its author. The pam- 
phlet found its way South, and was the cause of no 
little commotion among the master-class. It was 
looked upon as an instigation to servile insurrection. 
The "Appeal " was proscribed, and a price put upon 
the head of the author. Garrison deprecated the 
sanguinary character of the book. For he himself 
was the very reverse of Walker. Garrison was a full 
believer in the literal doctrine of non-resistance as 
enunciated by Jesus. He abhorred all war, and phy- 
sical collisions of every description, as wicked and 
inhuman. He sang to the slave : 



" Not by the sword shall your deliverance be ; 
Not by the shedding of your master's blood, 
Not by rebellion — or foul treachery, 
Upspringing suddenly, like swelling flood ; 
Revenge and rapine ne'er did bring forth good. 
God's time is best! — nor will it long delay; 
Even now your barren cause begins to bud. 
And glorious shall the fruit be ! — watch and pray, 
For lo ! the kindling dawn that ushers in the day." 

He considered "Walker's Appeal" "a most inju- 
dicious publication, yet warranted by the creed of an 
independent people.'^ He saw in our Fourth-of-July 
demonstrations, in our glorification of force as an 
instrument for achieving liberty, a constant incentive 
to the slaves to go and do likewise. If it was right 
for the men of 1776 to rise in rebellion against their 
mother-country, it surely could not be wrong were 
the slaves to revolt against their oppressors, and 
strike for their freedom. It certainly did not lie in 
the mouth of a people, who apotheosized force, to 
condemn them. What was sauce for the white man's 
goose was sauce for the black man's gander. 

The South could not distinguish between this sort 
of reasoning, and an express and positive appeal to 
the slaves to cut the throats of their masters. The 
contents of the Liberator were quite as likely to pro- 
duce a slave insurrection as was *' Walker's Appeal," 
if the paper was allowed to circulate freely among 
the slave population. It was, in fact, more dangerous 
to the lives and interests of slaveholders by virtue of 
the pictorial representation of the barbarism and 
abomination of the peculiar institution, introduced 
as a feature of the Liberator in its seventeenth num- 
ber, in the shape of a slave auction, where the slaves 



are chattels, and classed with " horses and other 
cattle," and where the tortures of the whipping-post 
are in vigorous operation. Here was a message, 
which every slave, however ignorant and illiterate 
could read. His instinct would tell him, wherever 
he saw the pictured horror, that a friend, not an 
enemy, had drawn it, but for what purpose ? What 
was the secret meaning, which he was to extract from 
a portrayal of his woes at once so real and terrible. 
Was it to be a man, to seize the knife, the torch, to 
slay and burn his way to the rights and estate of a 
man ? Garrison had put no such bloody import into 
the cut. It was designed not to appeal to the pas- 
sions of the slaves, but to the conscience of the 
North. But the South did not so read it, was inca- 
pable, in fact, of so reading it. What it saw was a 
shockingly realistic representation of the wrongs of 
the slaves, the immediate and inevitable effect of 
which upon the slaves would be to incite them to 
sedition, to acts of revenge. Living as the slave- 
holders were over mines of powder and dynamite, it 
is not to be marveled at that the first flash of danger 
filled them with apprehension and terror. The awful 
memories of San Domingo flamed red and dreadful 
against the dark background of every Southern 
plantation and slave community. In the " belly " of 
the Liberator's picture were many San Domingos. 
Extreme fear is the beginning of madness; it is, indeed, 
a kind of madness. The South was suddenly plunged 
into a state of extreme fear toward which the Libera- 
tor and " Walker's Appeal " were hurrying it, by 
one of those strange accidents or coincidences of 



This extraordinary circumstance was the slave in- 
surrection in Southampton, Virginia, in the month of 
August, 1831. The leader of the uprising was the 
now famous Nat Turner. Brooding over the wrongs 
of his race for several years, he conceived that he 
was the divinely appointed agent to redress them. 
He was cast in the mould of those rude heroes, who 
spring out of the sides of oppression as isolated trees 
will sometimes grow out of clefts in a mountain. 
With his yearning to deliver his people, there mingled 
not a little religious frenzy and superstition. Getting 
his command from Heaven to arise against the mas- 
ters, he awaited the sign from this same source of 
the moment for beginning the work of destruction. 
It came at last and on the night of August 21st; he and 
his confederates made a beginning by massacring 
first his own master, Mr. Joseph Travis, and his entire 
family. Turner's policy was remorseless enough. 
It was to spare no member of the white race, whether 
man, woman, or child, the very infant at the mother's 
breast was doomed to the knife, until he was able to 
collect such an assured force as would secure the suc- 
cess of the enterprise. This purpose was executed 
with terrible severity and exactness. All that night 
the work of extermination went on as the slave leader 
and his followers passed like fate from house to 
house, and plantation to plantation, leaving a wide 
swathe of death in their track. Terror filled the 
night, terror filled the State, the most abject terror 
clutched the bravest hearts. The panic was pitiable, 
horrible. James McDowell, one of the leaders of the 
Old Dominion, gave voice to the awful memories 
and sensations of that night, in the great anti- 


slavery debate, v^hich broke out in the Virginia Legis- 
lature, during the v^^inter afterward. One of the 
legislators, joined to his idol, and who now, that 
the peril had passed, laughed at the uprising as a 
" petty affair." McDowell retorted — " Was that a 
* petty affair,' which erected a peaceful and confiding 
portion of the State into a military camp, which out- 
lawed from pity the unfortunate beings whose broth- 
ers had offended ; which barred every door, pene- 
trated every bosom with fear or suspicion, which so 
banished every sense of security from every man's 
dwelling, that let but a hoof or horn break upon the 
silence of the night, and an aching throb would be 
driven to the heart ? The husband would look to his 
weapon, and the mother would shudder and weep 
upon her cradle. Was it the fear of Nat Turner and 
his deluded, drunken handful of followers which pro- 
duced such effects ? Was it this that induced distant 
counties, where the very name of Southampton was 
strange, to arm and equip for a struggle ? No, sir, it 
was the suspicion eternally attached to the slave himself ^ 
— a suspicion that a Nat Turner might be in every 
family, that the same bloody deed might be acted 
over at any time and in any place, that the materials 
for it were spread through the land, and were always 
ready for a like explosion." 

Sixty-one whites and more than a hundred blacks 
perished in this catastrophe. The news produced a 
profound sensation in the Union. Garrison himself, 
as he records, was horror-struck at the tidings. 
Eight months before he had in a strain of prophecy 
penetrated the future and caught a glimpse of just 
such an appalling tragedy : 



" Wo, if it come with storm, and blood, and fire, 
When midnight darkness veils the earth and sky! 
Wo to the innocent babe — the guilty sire — 
Mother and daughter — friends of kindred tie ! 
Stranger and citizen alike shall die! 
Red-handed slaughter his revenge shall feed, 
And havoc yell his ominous death-cry, 
And wild despair in vain for mercy plead — 
While hell itself shall shrink and sicken at the deed ! " 

After the Southampton insurrection the slavery 
agitation increased apace, and the Liberator and its 
editor became instantly objects of dangerous noto- 
riety in it. The eyes of the country w^ere irresistibly 
drawn to them. They were at the bottom of the up- 
rising, they were instigating the slaves to similar 
outbreaks. The savage growlings of a storm came 
thrilling on every breeze from the South, and wrath- 
ful mutterings against the agitator and his paper 
grew thenceforth more distinct and threatening 
throughout the free States. October 15, 1831, Garri- 
son records in the Liberator that he " is constantly 
receiving from the slave States letters filled with the 
most diabolical threats and indecent language." In 
the same month Georgetown, S. C, in a panic made 
it unlawful for a free colored person to take the Lib- 
erator from the post-office. In the same month the 
Charleston Mercury announced that " gentlemen of 
the first respectability " at Columbia had offered a 
reward of fifteen hundred dollars for the arrest and 
conviction of any white person circulating the Libera- 
tor^ Walker's pamphlet, " or any other publication of 
seditious tendency." In Georgia the same symptoms 
of fright were exhibited. In the same month the 



<^^rand jury at Raleigh, N. C, indicted William Lloyd 
Garrison and Isaac Knapp for circulating the Libera- 
tor in that county. It was even confidently expected 
that a requisition would be made by the Executive of 
the State upon the Governor of Massachusetts for 
their arrest, when they would be tried under a law, 
which made their action felony. " Whipping and 
imprisonment for the first offence, and death, without 
benefit of clergy, for the second." Governor Floyd 
said in his message to the Virginia Legislature in 
December that there was good cause to suspect that 
the plans of the Southampton massacre were " de- 
signed and matured by unrestrained fanatics in some 
of the neighboring States." Governor Hamilton sent 
to the South Carolina Legislature in the same month 
an excited message on the situation. He was in 
entire accord with the Virginia Executive as to the 
primary and potent agencies which led to the slave 
uprising in Virginia. They were " incendiary news- 
papers and other publications put forth in the non- 
slave-holding States, and freely circulated within the 
limits of Virginia." As specimens of ''incendiary 
newspapers and other publications, put forth in the 
non-slave-holding States," the South Carolina official 
sent along with his message, copies of the Liberator 
and of Mr. Garrison's address to the " Free People of 
Color," for the enlightenment of the members of the 
Legislature. But it remained for Georgia to cap the 
climax of madness when her Legislature resolved : 
' That the sum of five thousand dollars be, and the 
same is hereby appropriated, to be paid to any person 
or persons who shall arrest, bring to trial and prosecute 
to conviction, under the laws of this State, the editor 



or publisher of a certain paper called the Liberator^ 
published in the town of Boston and State of Mass- 
achusetts ; or who shall arrest and bring to trial and 
prosecute to conviction, under the laws of this State, 
any other person or persons who shall utter, publish, 
or circulate within the limits of this State said paper 
called the Liberator^ or any other paper, circular, 
pamphlet, letter, or address of a seditious character." 
This extraordinary resolve was signed Dec. 26, 1831, 
by "Wilson Lumpkin, Governor." The whole South 
was in a state of terror. In its insane fright it would 
have made short shrift of the editor of the Liberator^ 
had he by accident, force, or fraud have fallen into 
the clutches of its laws. The Georgia reward of five 
thousand dollars was as Mr. Garrison put it, " a bribe 
to kidnappers." The Southern method of dealing 
with the agitation within the slave States was violent 
and effective. There could be no agitation after the 
agitators were abolished. And the Southern method 
was to abolish the agitators. 

The suppression of Abolitionism within the slave 
States was no difficult matter, but its suppression at 
the North was a problem of a wholly different nature, 
as the South was not long in finding out. It would 
not understand why its violent treatment of the disease 
within its jurisdiction could not be prescribed as a 
remedy by the non-slave-holding half of the Union 
within its borders. And so the South began to call 
loudly and fiercely for the suppression of a movement 
calculated to incite the slaves to insubordination and 
rebellion. This demand of the South had its influence 
at the North. Such newspapers as the National 
Intelligencer^ and the Boston Courier suggested 



amendments to the laws whereby the publication of 
incendiary writings in the free States might be pro- 
hibited. The latter journal allowed that under the 
criminal code of Massachusetts every man has a 
right to advocate Abolition, or conspiracy, or mur- 
der ; for he may do all these without breaking our 
laws, although in any Southern State public justice 
and public safety would require his punishment. 
" But," the editor goes on to remark, " if we have no 
laws upon the subject, it is because the exigency 
was not anticipated . . . Penal statutes against 
treasonable and seditious publications are necessary 
in all communities. We have them for our own pro- 
tection ; if they should include provisions for the pro- 
tection of our neighbors it would be no additional 
encroachment upon the liberty of the press." The 
Governors of Virginia and Georgia remonstrated with 
Harrison Gray Otis, who was Mayor of Boston in 
the memorable year of 1831, "against an incendiary 
newspaper published in Boston, and, as they alleged, 
thrown broadcast among their plantations, inciting to 
insurrection and its horrid results." As a lawyer 
Mayor Otis, however, " perceived the intrinsic, if not 
insuperable obstacles to legislative enactments made 
to prevent crimes from being consummated beyond 
the local jurisdiction." But the South was not seek- 
ing a legal opinion as to what it could or could not 
do. It demanded, legal or illegal,that Garrison and the 
Liberator be suppressed. To the Boston mayor the 
excitement over the editor and his paper seemed like 
much ado about nothing The cause appeared to 
his supercilious mind altogether inadequate to the 
effect. And so he set to work to reduce the panic by 


exposing the vulgarity and insignificance of the 
object, which produced it. That he might give the 
Southern bugaboo its quietus^ he directed one of his 
deputies to inquire into a publication, of which " no 
member of the city government, nor any person," of 
his honor's acquaintance, " had ever heard." The 
result of this inquiry Mayor Otis reported to the 
Southern functionaries. 

" Some time afterward," he wrote, "it was reported 
to me by the city officers that they had ferreted out 
the paper and its editor; that his office was an ob- 
scure hole, his only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and 
his supporters a very few insignificant persons of all 

With this bare bodkin Harrison Gray Otis thought 
to puncture the Southern panic. But the slave- 
holders had correcter notions of the nature and tend- 
ency of the Abolition enterprise than had the Boston 
mayor. They had a strange, an obstinate presenti- 
ment of disaster from the first instant that the Liber- 
ator loomed upon their horizon. It was a battery 
whose guns, unless silenced, would play havoc 
with Southern interests and the slave system; ergo^ 
the paper must be suppressed; ergo^ its editor must 
be silenced or destroyed. And so when Otis, from 
his serene height, assured them of his "belief that 
the new fanaticism had not made, nor was likely to 
make, proselytes among the respectable classes of 
our people," they continued to listen to their fears, 
and to cry the louder for the suppression of the 
" incendiary newspaper published in Boston." 

The editor of that paper never flinched before the 
storm of malignity which was gathering about his 


head. He pursued the even tenor of his w^ay, labor- 
ing at the case more than fourteen hours every day, 
except Sundays, upon the paper, renewing, week after 
week, his assaults upon the citadel of the great ini- 
quity, giving no quarter to slave-holding sinners, but 
carrying aloft the banner of immediate and uncon- 
ditional EMANCIPATION. Otls had looked to num- 
bers and respectability as his political barometer and 
cue; but when, after diligent search with official 
microscopes, he failed to observe the presence of 
either in connection with this " new fanaticism," wise 
man that he was, he turned over and renewed his slum- 
bers on the edge of a volcano whose ominous rum- 
bling the Southern heart had heard and interpreted 
aright. He was too near to catch the true import of 
the detonations of those subterranean forces which 
were sounding, week after week, in the columns of 
the Liberator. They seemed trivial, harmless, con- 
temptible, like the toy artillery of children bombard- 
ing Fort Independence. Garrison's moral earnest- 
ness and enthusiasm seemed to the Boston mayor 
like the impotent rage of a man nursing memories of 
personal injuries suffered at the South. 

If there was panic in the South, there was none in 
the office of the Liberator. Unterrified by the com- 
motion which his composing-stick was producing 
near and far, he laughed to scorn the abuse and 
threats of his enemies. When the news of the reward 
of the State of Georgia " for the abduction of his 
person " reached him, he did not quail, great as was 
his peril, but boldly replied : 

" Of one thing we are sure : all Southern threats 
and rewards will be insufficient to deter us from pur- 


suing the work of emancipation. As citizens of the 
United States we know our rights and dare maintain 
them. We have committed no crime, but are expend- 
ing our health, comfort, and means for the salvation 
of our country, and for the interests and security of 
infatuated slaveholders, as well as for the relief of 
the poor slaves." 

Archimedes with his lever had moved the world. 
Archimedes " in a small chamber, unfurnitured and 
mean," had set a world of pro-slavery passions and 
prejudices spinning away into space : 

" Such earnest natures are the fiery pith, 

The compact nucleus, 'round which systems grow; 
Mass after mass becomes inspired therewith, 
And whirls impregnate with the central glow." 



Help came but slowly " to the reformer. With a 
single instrument he had stirred the nation, as no 
other man had done, on the slavery question. He had 
thrown the South into widespread excitement, and 
thawed the apathy of the North into widespread 
attention. He had won an almost instant hearing for 
his cause. But he knew that this was not enough. 
Effective as he had shown the weapon of the press to 
be, it alone was unequal to the conduct of prolonged 
agitation. And prolonged agitation Garrison clearly 
apprehended was to be the price of abolition. Back 
of him and the Liberator he needed an organized 
force, coadjutors like Aaron and Hur to hold up his 
arms during the mighty conflict on which he had now 
entered with the slave interests of the country. Those 
interests were organized, and because they were 
organized they were powerful. The sentiment of 
freedom he determined to organize and to render it 
thereby invincible. To organized wrong he designed 
to oppose organized right, confident that organized 
right would prevail in the end. He had knowledge 
of the utility of temperance societies in advancing 
the cause of sobriety among the people. He had 
learned from Lundy how much he had relied upon 
the union of men as anti-slavery helps. Garrison 
determined to summon to his side the powerful 



agency of an anti-slavery society devoted to 
immediate and unconditional emancipation. He had 
already made converts ; he had already a small fol- 
lowing. At Julien Hall, on the occasion of his first 
lecture on the subject of slavery, he had secured three 
remarkable men to the movement, viz., Rev. Samuel 
J. May, then a young Unitarian minister, Samuel E. 
Sewall, a young member of the Bar, and A. Bronson 
Alcott, a sage even in his early manhood. They had 
all promised him aid and comfort in the great task 
which he had undertaken. A little later two others, 
quite as remarkable as those first three were drawn 
to the reformer's side, and abetted him in the treason 
to iniquity, which he was prosecuting through the 
columns of the Liberator with unrivaled zeal and 
devotion. These disciples were Ellis Grey Loring 
and David Lee Child. They were a goodly company, 
were these five conspirators, men of intellect and 
conscience, of high family and social connections, of 
brilliant attainments and splendid promises for the 
future. To this number must be added a sixth^ 
Oliver Johnson, who was at the time editing The 
Christian Soldier^ disciple of Garrison then, and ever 
after his devoted friend. The early promises of this 
noble half dozen friends of the slave were more than 
fulfilled in after years. Often to the dingy room 
" under the eaves " in Merchants* Hall they climbed 
to carry aid and comfort to " one poor, unlearned 
young man," and to sit at his feet in this cradle-room 
of the new movement. It was there in communion 
with the young master that suggestions looking to 
the formation of an anti-slavery society, were doubt- 
less first thrown out. 


*' The place was dark, unfurnitured and mean ; 
Yet there the freedom of a race began." 

It was not all clear sailing for the editor of the Lib- 
erator even with such choice spirits. They did not 
always carry aid and comfort to him, but diff- 
erences of opinions sometimes as well. He did not 
sugar-coat enough the bitter truth which he was tell- 
ing to the nation. Some of them would have prefer- 
red The Safety Lamp to the Liberator as a title less 
likely to offend the prejudices of many good people. 
Some again objected to the pictorial heading of the 
paper as an altogether unwise proceeding, and posi- 
tively mischievous. He had the same experience 
when the formation of an Abolition society was under 
consideration. He was confronted with this benevo- 
lent aversion to giving offence by calling things by 
their right names. But much as he desired to have 
his friends and followers organized for associated 
action, where a principle was at stake he was with 
them as with slavery itself absolutely inflexible and 
uncompromising. He was for organizing on the 
principle of immediate emancipation. A few deemed 
that ground too radical and revolutionary, and were 
for ranging themselves under the banner of Gradual- 
ism, thinking to draw to their ranks a class of people, 
who would be repelled by Immediatism. But Garri- 
son was unyielding, refused to budge an inch to con- 
ciliate friend or foe — not even such stanch supporters 
as were Sewall and Loring, who supplied him again 
and again with money needed to continue the publi- 
cation of the Liberator, No, he was right and they 
were wrong, and they, not he, ought accordingly to 
yield. The contention between the leader and his 



disciples was not what was expedient, but what was 
right. It was on the part of the leader the assertion 
of a vital principle, and on this ground he was 
pledged against retreat. The mountain could not go 
to Mahomet, therefore Mahomet must needs go to the 
mountain. Garrison could not abandon his position, 
wherefore in due time Loring, Child, and Sewall sur- 
rendered theirs. Finely has Lowell expressed this 
righteous stubborness, and steadfastness to principle 
in three stanzas of his poem entitled, ^' The Day of 
Small Things," and which have such an obvious les- 
son for our own times that I shall venture to quote 
them in this place : 

"Who is it will not dare himself to trust? 
Who is it hath not strength to stand alone ? 
Who is it thwarts and bilks the inward MUST ? 
He and his works, like sand from earth are blown. 

*' Men of a thousand shifts and wiles look here ! 
See one straightforward conscience put in pawn 
To win a world ! See the obedient sphere 
By bravery's simple gravitation drawn! 

" Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old. 
And by the Present's lips repeated still, 
In our own single manhood to be bold, 
Fortressed in conscience and impregnable will ? " 

The history of the making of this first society is an 
interesting story. There were four meetings in all 
before it was found possible to complete the work of 
its organization. These meetings extended over a 
space of nearly three months, so obstinate were a 
minority against committing the proposed society 
to the principle of immediate emancipation. The 


very name which was to be given to the association 
provoked debate and disagreement. Some were for 
christening it " Philo-African," while Garrison would 
no such milk-and-water title, but one which expressed 
distinctly and graphically the real character of the or- 
ganization, viz., "New England Anti-Slavery Society." 
He would sail under no false or neutral colors, but 
beneath the red flag of open and determined hos- 
tility to slavery. It should be a sign which no one 
could possibly mistake. The first meeting was held 
at the office of Samuel E. Sewall, November 13, 1831. 
At the third meeting, convened New Year's evening 
of 1832, which was the first anniversary of the publi- 
cation of the Liberator^ the work of organization was 
finished, with a single important exception, viz., the 
adoption of the preamble to the constitution. The 
character of the preamble would fix the character of 
the society. Therefore that which was properly first 
was made to come last. The fourth meeting took 
place on the night of January 6th in the African Bap- 
tist Church on what was then Belknap but now known 
as Joy street. The young leader and fourteen of his 
followers met that evening in the school-room for 
colored children, situated under the auditorium of 
the church. They could hardly have fallen upon a 
more obscure or despised place for the consummation 
of their enterprise in the city of Boston than was 
this selfsame negro church and school-room. The 
weather added an ever memorable night to the oppro- 
brium of the spot. A fierce northeaster accompanied 
with " snow, rain, and hail in equal proportions " was 
roaring and careering through the city's streets. To 
an eye-witness, Oliver Johnson, " it almost seemed 



as if Nature was frowning upon the new effort to 
abolish slavery ; but," he added, " the spirits of the 
little company rose superior to all external circum- 

If there was strife of the elements without, neither 
was there sweet accord within among brethren. 
" The spirits of the little company " may have risen 
superior to the weather, but they did not rise super- 
ior to the preamble, with the principle of immediatism 
incorporated in it. Eleven stood by the leader and 
made it the chief of the corner of the new society, 
while three, Messrs. Loring, Sewall, and Child, re- 
fused to sign the Constitution and parted sorrowfully 
from the small band of the New England Anti-Slavery 
Society. But the separation was only temporary, for 
each returned to the side of the reformer, and proved 
his loyalty and valor in the trying years which fol- 

The preamble which was the bone of so much con- 
tention declared that : We, the undersigned, hold 
that every person, of full age and sane mind, has a 
right to immediate freedom from personal bondage 
of whatsoever kind, unless imposed by the sentence 
of the law for the commission of some crime. We 
hold that man cannot, consistently with reason, 
religion, and the eternal and immutable principles 
of justice, be the property of man. We hold that 
whoever retains his fellow-man in bondage is guilty 
of a grievous wrong. We hold that a mere difference 
of complexion is no reason why any man should be 
deprived of any of his natural rights, or subjected to 
any political disability. While we advance these 
opinions as the principles on which we intend to act, 


we declare that we will not operate on the existing 
relations of society by other than peaceful and law- 
ful means, and that we will give no countenance to 
violence or insurrection." 

Twelve, the apostolic number, affixed to the pre- 
amble and constitution their names, and thus formed 
the first Garrisonian Society for the abolition of slav- 
ery in the United States. The names of these apos- 
tolic men it is well to keep in mind. They are Wil- 
liam Lloyd Garrison, Oliver Johnson, Robert B. Hall, 
Arnold Buffum, William J. Snelling, John E. Fuller, 
Moses Thatcher, Joshua Coffin, Stillman B. New- 
comb, Benjamin C. Bacon, Isaac Knapp, and Henry 
K. Stockton. The band of reformers, their work 
done, had risen to pass out of the low, rude room into 
the dark night. The storm was still raging. They 
themselves had perchance been sobered by the ex- 
periences of the evening. They had gone in fifteen, 
they were returning twelve. And, after all, what had 
they accomplished ? What could they a mere handful 
do to abolish slavery entrenched as it was in Church 
and State ? It is possible that some such dim dis- 
couragement, some such vague misgiving of the 
futility of the evening's labor, was in the hearts of 
those wearied men, and that their leader divined as 
much, for the spirit of prophecy fell upon Garrison 
just as they " were stepping out into the storm and 
darkness." "We have met to-night," he said, "in 
this obscure school-house ; our numbers are few and 
our influence limited ; but, mark my prediction, Fan- 
euil Hall shall erelong echo with the principles we 
have set forth. We shall shake the nation by their 
mighty power." Then the little band dispersed " into 


the Storm and darkness," carrying with them these 
words charged with hope and courage. 

The fruitful seed of organized agitation Garrison 
had securely planted in soil fertile and ready for its 
reception. Its growth constitutes one of the marvels 
of reforms. Within a few brief years it multiplied 
into hundreds and thousands of societies throughout 
the free States. But its beginnings were small and 
humble enough. " The objects of the society " were 
according to the second article of the constitution, 
" to endeavor by all means sanctioned by law, human- 
ity, and religion, to effect the abolition of slavery in 
the United States, to improve the character and con- 
dition of the free people of color, to inform and cor- 
rect public opinion in relation to their situation and 
rights, and to obtain for them equal civil and politi- 
cal rights and privileges with the whites." The 
means which were immediately adopted by the society 
for the accomplishment of these objects were mainly 
three, than which none others could have been 
more effective. These were petitioning Congress on 
the subject of slavery. The publication and circula- 
tion of anti-slavery addresses and tracts, and the em- 
ployment of anti-slavery agents, "in obtaining or 
communicating intelligence, in the publication and 
distribution of tracts, books, or papers, or in the exe- 
cution of any measure which may be adopted to pro- 
mote the objects of the society." Such was the simple 
but unequaled machinery which the New England 
Anti-Slavery Society relied upon for success in the 
war, which it had declared against American slavery. 
The executive power of the body, and the operation 
of its machinery were lodged in a board of managers 


of which Garrison's was the leading, originating 
mind. The society started out bravely in the use of 
its means by memorializing Congress for the aboli- 
tion of slavery, " in the District of Columbia and in 
the Territories of the United States under their juris- 
diction," and by preparing and distributing an address 
in maintenance of the doctrine of immediate emanci- 
pation. The board of managers set the machinery in 
motion as far and as fast as the extremely limited 
pecuniary ability of the society would permit. The 
membership was not from the rich classes. It was 
Oliver Johnson who wittily remarked that not 
more than one or two of the original twelve, 
" could have put a hundred dollars into the treasury 
without bankrupting themselves." The remark was 
true, and was quite as applicable to any dozen of the 
new-comers as to the original twelve. The society 
was never deficient in zeal, bnt it was certainly sadly 
wanting in money. And money was even to such 
men and to such a movement an important factor in 
revolutionizing public opinion. 

The Liberator was made the official organ of the 
society, and in this way was added to its other wea- 
pons that of the press. This was a capital arrange- 
ment, for by it both the paper and the society were 
placed under the direction of the same masterly 
guidance. There was still one arrow left in the moral 
quiver of the organization to reach the conscience of 
the people, and that was the appointment of an agent 
to spread the doctrines of the new propaganda of 
freedom. In August the board of managers, meta- 
phorically speaking, shot this arrow by making Gar- 
rison the agent of the society to lecture on the sub- 



iect of slavery " for a period not exeeeding three 
months." This was the first drop from a cloud then 
no bigger than a hand, but which was to grow and 
spread until, covering the North, was, at the end of 
a few short years, to flood the land with anti-slavery 
agents and lecturers. 

Our anti-slavery agent visited portions of Massachu- 
setts, Maine, and Rhode Island, preaching the Aboli- 
tion gospel in divers places, and to many people — 
notably at such centers of population as Worcester, 
Providence, Bangor, and Portland, making at the 
latter city a signal conversion to his cause in the per- 
son of General Samuel Fessenden, distinguished then 
as a lawyer, and later as the father of William Pitt 
Fessenden. The anti-slavery schoolmaster was 
abroad, and was beginning to turn New England and 
the North into one resounding schoolhouse, where he 
sat behind the desk and the nation occupied the 

So effective was the agitation prosecuted by the 
society during the first year of its existence that it 
was no empty declaration or boast of the Abolitionist^ 
the new monthly periodical of the society, that 

probably, through its instrumentality, more public 
addresses on the subject of slavery, and appeals in 
behalf of the contemned free people of color, have 
been made in New England, during the past year 
(1832) than were elicited for forty years prior to its 

The introduction of the principle of association 
into the slavery agitation, and the conversion of it 
into an organized movement was an achievement of 
the first importance. To Garrison, more than to any 


man, or to all others put together, belongs the 
authorship of this immense initiative. He it was, 
who, having "announced the principle, arranged the 
method " of the Abolition movement. The marshal- 
ing of the anti-slavery sentiment of New England 
under a common standard, in a common cause, was 
a master stroke of moral generalship. This master 
stroke the leader followed up promptly with a second 
stroke not less masterly. That second stroke was his 
"Thoughts on African Colonization," published in 
the summer succeeding the formation of the New 
England Anti-Slavery Society. 

Garrison's championship of the cause of the slave 
had started with strong faith in the efficacy and dis- 
interestedness of the colonization scheme as an instru- 
ment of emancipation. It commanded, therefore, his 
early support. In his Park Street Church address he 
evinced himself in earnest sympathy with the friends 
of colonization. But after his arrival in Baltimore a 
change began to exhibit itself in this regard. He 
began to qualify his confidence in its utility; began 
to discern in it influences calculated to retard general 
emancipation. As these doubts and misgivings arose 
within him he expressed them frankly in the Genius. 
Lundy had been suspicious of the pro-slavery pur- 
poses or interests of the enterprise for many years. 
He could not reconcile himself to the significant or, 
at least, singular fact of so many slaveholders being 
in the membership and the offices of the association. 
Then, in addition to this lack of confidence on the 
part of Lundy in the scheme, Garrison became ac- 
quainted, for the first time, with the objects of the 
society's philanthropy — the class of free people of 



color. He found that these people were not at all 
well affected to the society; that they had no appre- 
ciation of its benevolent intentions in respect to them- 
selves. He found, on the contrary, that they were 
positively embittered toward it and toward its designs 
for their removal from the country as toward their 
worst enemy. This circumstance was undoubtedly 
a poser to their young friend. How could he recon- 
cile this deep-seated and widespread disbelief in the 
purity of the motives of the Colonization Society, 
with the simple integrity and humanity of the enter- 
prise itself ? Later, his acquaintance with such repre- 
sentatives of the free people of color in Philadelphia 
as James Forten and his son-in-law, Robert Purvis, 
served but to confirm those first impressions which 
he received in Baltimore from the Watkinses and 
the Greeners. It was the same experience in New 
York and New Haven, in Boston and Providence. 
He learned that from the very beginning, in the year 
1817, that the free people of color in Richmond and 
Philadelphia had, by an instinctive knowledge of 
threatened wrong and danger, met and resolved 
against the society and its sinister designs upon 
themselves. These people did not wish to leave the 
country; they did not wish to be sent to Liberia ; but 
the society, bent on doing them good against their 
will, did want them to leave the country, did want 
to send them to Liberia. 

And why did the society desire to remove the free 
people of color out of the country ? Was it from mo- 
ives of real philanthropy ? The colored people were 
the first to detect its spurious humanity, the first to see 
through the artful disguises employed to impose upon 



the conscience of the republic. Their removal, they 
intuitively divined, was proposed not to do their race 
a benefit, but rather to do a service to the owners of 
slaves. These objects of the society's pseudo-phil- 
anthropy had the sagacity to perceive that, practi- 
cally, their expatriation tended to strengthen the 
chains of their brethren then in slavery; for if the 
South could get rid of its free colored population, its 
slave property would thereby acquire additional 
security, and, of consequence, increased market value. 
Like cause, like effect. If the operation of the col- 
onization scheme was decidedly in the interest of the 
masters, it was the part of wisdom to conclude as the 
free colored people did actually conclude that the 
underlying motive, the hidden purpose of the society 
was also in the interest of the masters. 

Garrison did not reach his conclusions as to the 
pro-slavery character and tendency of the society 
abruptly. The scales fell away gradually from his 
eyes. He was not completely undeceived until he 
had examined the reports of the society and found 
in them the most redundant evidence of its insincer- 
ity and guilt. It was out of its own mouth that he 
condemned it. When he saw the society in its true 
character, he saw what he must do. It was a wolf in 
sheep's skin running at large among the good shep- 
herd's flock, and inflicting infinite hurt upon his poor 
sheep. He no longer wondered at the horror which 
the colonization scheme inspired among the free 
people of color. They were right. The society was 
their dangerous and determined enemy; it was the 
bulwark of the slave-holding classes. With the 
instinct of a great purpose he resolved to carry this 



powerful bulwark of slavery by assault. To the 
attack he returned week after week in the Liberator, 
during a year and a half. Then he hurled himself 
upon it with all his guns, facts, arguments, denuncia- 
tions, blowing away and burning up every shred of 
false covering from the doctrines, principles, and 
purposes of the society, revealing it to mankind in 
its base and monstrous character. 

The society's one motive " to get rid of the free 
people of color," was outrageous enough, but this 
was not its only sin. There was another phase to the 
mischief it was working, which lifted it to the rank of 
a great sinner. It was not only harmful in its princi- 
ples and purposes. " It imperatively and effectually 
seals up the lips," so Garrison accused it, " of a vast 
number of influential and pious men, who, for fear of 
giving offence to those slaveholders with whom they 
associate, and thereby leading to a dissolution of the 
compact, dare not expose the flagrant enormities of 
the system of slavery, nor denounce the crime of hold- 
ing human beings in bondage. They dare not lead 
to the onset against the forces of tyranny ; and if 
they shrink from the conflict, how shall the victory 
be won ? I do not mean to aver that in their ser- 
mons, or addresses, or private conversations, they 
never allude to the subject of slavery ; for they do so 
frequently, or at least every Fourth of July. But my 
complaint is that they content themselves with repre- 
senting slavery as an evil — a misfortune — a calamity 
which has been entailed upon us by former genera- 
tions, — and not as an individual crime, embracing in its 
folds, robbery, cruelty, oppression, and piracy. They 
do not identify the ci imijial ; they make no direct, 

Master strokes. 


pungent, earnest appeal to the consciences of men- 
stealers." This was a damning bill, but it was true 
in every particular ; and the evidence which Garri- 
son adduced to establish his charges was overwhelm- 
ing and irrefragable. 

Nearly fifty years afterward, Elizur Wright 
described the baleful influence of the society upon 
the humanity and philanthropy of the nation. "The 
humanity and philanthropy," he said, " which could 
not otherwise be disposed of, was ingeniously seduced 
into an African Colonization Society, whereby all 
slaves who had grown seditious and troublesome to 
their masters could be transplanted on the pestifer- 
ous African coast. That this wretched and seemingly 
transparent humbug could have deluded anybody, 
must now seem past belief ; but I must with shame 
confess the fact that I for one was deluded by it. And 
that fact would put me in doubt of my own sanity at 
the time if I did not know that high statesmen, pres- 
idents of colleges, able editors, and that most 
undoubted of firm philanthropists, Gerrit Smith, 
shared the same delusion. Bible and missionary soci- 
eties fellowshipped that mean and scurvy device of 
the kidnapper, in their holy work. It was spoken of 
as the most glorious of Christian enterprises, had a 
monthly magazine devoted to itself, and taxed about 
every pulpit in the land for an annual sermon in its 

Such was the Colonization Society, and its 
entrenched strength in the piety and philanthropy of 
the country at the moment when Garrison published 
his "Thoughts." It did not seem possible that a single 
arm however powerful, was able to start its roots ; 



but, directly upon the launching of this bolt, the 
roots of the Bohun Upas, as Garrison graphically 
designated the society, were seen to have started, and 
the enterprise appeared blasted as by fire. The 
deluded intellect and conscience of the free States 
saw in the fierce light, which the pamphlet of the 
reformer threw upon the colonization scheme how 
shamefully imposed upon they had been. They had 
believed the society " the most glorious of Christian 
enterprises," and, lo ! it stood revealed to them a 
" scurvy device of the kidnapper." The effect was 
extraordinary. The book was seized and its con- 
tents devoured by some of the finest minds of the 
North. Here is an example of the interest which it 
excited and the converts which it made : " Last Mon- 
day evening was our Law Club meeting, and I had 
the great satisfaction of hearing Judge Mellen, our 
Chief-Justice, say he had read your * Thoughts,' was a 
thorough convert to your views, and was ready to do 
all in his power to promote them. Mr. Longfellow 
[father of Henry W. Longfellow] was present also, 
and with equal warmth and clearness expressed him- 
self also in favor of your views. This is getting the 
two first men in the State for talents and influence in 
benevolent effort. I have no doubt they will head 
the list of those who will subscribe to form here an 
anti-slavery society. Mr. Greenleaf [Simon] also, 
will cordially come in, and I need not say he is one of 
the urst [men] in the State, for his character is known." 
This quotation is made from a letter of General Sam- 
uel Fessenden, of Portland, Me., to Mr. Garrison, 
dated December 14. 1832. Among the remarkable 
minds which the "Thoughts " disillusioned in respect 



of the character and tendency of the Colonization 
Society were Theodore D. Weld, Elizur Wright, and 
Beriah Green, N. P. Rogers, William Goodell, Joshua 
Leavitt, Amos A. Phelps, Lewis Tappan, and James 
Miller McKim. 

Garrison's assertion that " the overthrow of the 
Colonization Society was the overthrow of slavery 
itself," was, from the standpoint of a student of his- 
tory, an exaggerated one. We know now that the 
claim was not founded on fact, that while they did 
stand together they did not fall together. But the 
position was, nevertheless, the strongest possible one 
for the anti-slavery movement to occupy at the time. 
In the disposition of the pro-slavery forces on the 
field of the opening conflict in 1832, the colonization 
scheme commanded the important approaches to the 
citadel of the peculiar institution. It cut off the 
passes to public opinion, and to the religious and 
benevolent influences of the land. To reach these it 
was necessary in the first place to dislodge the society 
from its coign of vantage, its strategical point in 
the agitation. And this is precisely what " The 
Thoughts on African Colonization " did. It dislodged 
the society from its powerful place in the moral sen- 
timent of the North. The capture of this position 
was like the capture of a drawbridge, and the precip- 
itation of the assaulting column directly upon the 
the walls of a beseiged castle. Within the pamphlet 
was contained the whole tremendous enginery of 
demolition. The anti-slavery agent and lecturer 
thenceforth set it up wherever he spoke. 

To him it was not only the catapult, it fur- 
nished the missile-like facts and arguments for 


breaching the walls of this pro-slavery stronghold as 

The effect of the publication of The Thoughts " 
in this country was extraordinary, but the result of 
their circulation in England was hardly less so. It 
produced there as here a revolution in public senti- 
ment upon the subject. The philanthropy and piety 
of Great Britain had generally prior to the unmask- 
ing of the society, looked upon it as an instrument of 
Emancipation, and had accordingly given it their 
powerful countenance, and not a little material sup- 
port. But from the moment that the pamphlet 
reached England a decided change in this regard 
became manifest. The society made fruitless attempts 
to break the force of the blow dealt it by Garrison in 
the United States. But wherever its emissaries 
traveled " The Thoughts " confronted and confounded 
them. So that Mr. Garrison was warranted in saying 
that " all that sophistry or misrepresentation could 
effect to overthrow its integrity has been attempted 
in vain. The work, as a whole, stands irrefutable." 
The attempts made to maintain its hold upon the 
British public were characterized by duplicity and 
misrepresentation beyond anything practiced in 
America. The work of deceiving the philanthropy 
of Great Britain was conducted by the emissary of 
the society, Elliott Cresson, a man perfectly fitted to 
perform his part with remarkable thoroughness and 
industry. Three thousand miles away from America, 
and practically secure from contradiction, he went 
about making outrageous statements as to the anti- 
slavery character and purpose of the colonization 
enterprise. As there was no one in England suffi- 


ciently acquainted with the operations and designs 
of the society, he was enabled to falsify facts, to con- 
ceal the real principles of the scheme with astonish- 
ing audacity and activity. He approached Wilber- 
force, and duped Clarkson into a belief in the anti- 
slavery aim of the society. 

Unmasked in America, the time had come when the 
interests of the Abolition movement on this side of 
the Atlantic required that it should be stripped of its 
disguises on the other side also. No better instru- 
ment could be selected for this purpose than the man 
who had torn the mask from its features in the United 
States. And so in March, 1833, the Board of Man- 
agers of the New England Anti-Slavery Society noti- 
fied the public of the appointment of " William Lloyd 
Garrison as their agent, and that he would proceed to 
England as soon as the necessary arrangements can 
be made, for the purpose of procuring funds to aid 
in the establishment of the proposed MANUAL 
of disseminating in that country the truth in relation 
to American slavery, and to its ally, the American 
Colonization Society." The managers offered in 
justification of their step the fact that " Elliott Cres- 
son is now in England as an agent for the Coloniza- 
tion Society, and that he has procured funds to a 
considerable amount by representing that the object 
of the society is * to assist in the emancipation of all 
the slaves now in the United States.' It is important 
that the philanthropists of that country should be 
undeceived, and that the real principles and designs 
of the Colonization Society should be there made 


In pursuance of this mission Garrison sailed from 
New York, May 2, 1833. Twenty days later he landed 
in Liverpool. His arrival was opportune, for all 
England was watching the closing scene in the drama 
of West India Emancipation. He was an eye-witness 
of the crowning triumph of the English Abolitionists, 
viz., the breaking by Act of Parliament of the fetters 
of eight hundred thousand slaves. He was in time to 
greet his great spiritual kinsman, William Wilberforce, 
and to undeceive him in respect of the Colonization 
Society, before death claimed his body, and to fol- 
low him to his last resting-place by the side of Pitt 
and Fox, in Westminster Abbey. 

A highly interesting incident of this visit is best 
told in Mr. Garrison's own words. He said : 

" On arriving in London I received a polite invita- 
tion by letter from Mr. Buxton to take breakfast with 
him. Presenting myself at the appointed time, when 
my name was announced, instead of coming forward 
promptly to take me by the hand, he scrutinized me 
from head to foot, and then inquired, * Have I the 
pleasure of addressing Mr. Garrison, of Boston, in 
the United States ? ' * Yes, sir,' I replied, * I am he ; 
and I am here in accordance with your invitation.' 
Lifting up his hands he exclaimed, ' Why, my dear 
sir, I thought you were a black man ! And I have 
consequently invited this company of ladies and 
gentlemen to be present to welcome Mr. Garrison, 
the black advocate of emancipation, from the United 
States of America.' I have often said that that is the 
only compliment I have ever had paid to me that I care 
to remember or to tell of ! For Mr. Buxton had 
somehow or other supposed that no white American 


could plead for those in bondage as I had done, and 
therefore I must be black ! " 

Garrison promptly threw down his challenge to 
Elliott Cresson, offering to prove him an impostor 
and the Colonization Society " corrupt in its princi- 
ples, proscriptive in its measures, and the worst 
enemy of the free colored and slave population of 
the United States." From the first it was apparent 
that Cresson did not mean to encounter the author 
of the " Thoughts" in public debate. Even a mouse 
when cornered will show fight, but there was no 
manly fight in Cresson. Garrison sent him a letter 
containing seven grave charges against his society, 
and dared him to a refutation of them in a joint dis- 
cussion. This challenge was presented four times 
before the agent of colonization could be pursuaded 
to accept it. Garrison was bent on a joint public 
discussion between himself and Mr. Cresson. But 
Mr. Cresson was bent on avoiding his opponent. He 
skulked under one pretext or another from vindicat- 
ing the colonization scheme from the seven-headed 
indictment preferred against it by the agent of the 
New England Anti-Slavery Society. As Cresson 
could not be driven into a joint discussion with him 
there was nothing left to Garrison but to go on with- 
out him. His arraignment and exposure of the 
society in public and private was thorough and over- 
whelming. He was indefatigable in the prosecution 
of this part of his mission. And his labor was not in 
vain. For in less than three months after his reach- 
ing England he had rendered the Colonization 
Society as odious there as his "Thoughts" had made 
it in America. The great body of the anti-slavery 



sentiment in Great Britain promptly condemned the 
spirit and object of the American Colonization Soci- 
ety. Such leaders as Buxton and Cropper " termed 
its objects diabolical while Zachary Macaulay, 
father of the historian, did not doubt that " the 
unchristian prejudice of color (which alone has 
given brith to the Colonizatian Society, though 
varnished over with other more plausible pre- 
tences, and veiled under a profession of a Christian 
regard for the temporal and spiritual interests of the 
negro which is belied by the whole course of its 
reasonings and the spirit of its measures) is so 
detestable in itself that I think it ought not to be 
tolerated, but, on the contrary, ought to be denounced 
and opposed by all humane, and especially by all 
pious persons in this country." 

The protest against the Colonization Society 
"signed by Wilberforce and eleven of the most dis- 
tinguished Abolitionists in Great Britain," including 
Buxton, Macaulay, Cropper, and Daniel O'Connell, 
showed how thoroughly Garrison had accomplished 
his mission. The protest declares, thanks to the 
teachings of the agent of the New England Anti- 
Slavery Society, that the colonization scheme takes 
its roots from a cruel prejudice and alienation in the 
whites of America against the colored people, slave 
or free. This being its source the effects are what 
might be expected ; that it fosters and increases the 
spirit of caste, already so unhappily predominant ; 
that it widens the breach between the two races — 
exposes the colored people to great practical persecu- 
tion, in order to force them to emigrate ; and, finally, 
is calculated to swallow up and divert that feeling 


which America, as a Christian and free country, can- 
not but entertain, that slavery is alike incompatible 
with the law of God and with the well-being of man, 
whether the enslaver or the enslaved." The solemn 
conclusion of the illustrious signers of this mighty 
protest was that: " That society is, in our estimation, 
not deserving of the countenance of the British 
public." This powerful instrument fell, as Garrison 
wrote at the time, *'like a thunderbolt upon the 
society." The damage inflicted upon it was immense, 
irreparable. The name of Thomas Clarkson was 
conspicuous by its absence from the protest. He 
could not be induced to take positive ground against 
the society. Garrison had visited him for this pur- 
pose. But the venerable philanthropist, who was 
then blind, had taken position on neutral ground^ and 
conld not, after an interview of four hours, be 
induced to abandon it. But, fortunately, potent as 
the name of Clarkson would have been in opposition 
to the society, it was not indispensable to its over- 
throw in Great Britain. Garrison had won to his 
side "all the staunch anti-slavery spirits," while 
Cresson was able to retain only " a few titled, wealthy, 
high-pretending individuals." 

The success of the mission was signal, its service to 
the movement against slavery in America manifold. 
Garrison writing from London to the board of 
managers, summarized the results produced by it as 
follows : " ist, awakening a general interest among 
the friends of emancipation in this country, and 
securing their efficient cooperation with us in the aboli- 
tion of slavery in the United States ; 2d, dispelling 
the mists with which the agent of the American 



Colonization Society has blinded the eyes of benevo- 
lent men in relation to the design and tendency of 
the society ; 3d, enlisting able and eloquent advo- 
cates to plead our cause ; 4th, inducing editors of 
periodicals and able writers to give us the weight of 
their influence ; 5th, exciting a spirit of emulation 
in the redemption of our slave population among the 
numerous female anti-slavery societies ; 6th, procur- 
ing a large collection of anti-slavery documents, 
tracts, pamphlets, and volumes, which will furnish 
us with an inexhaustible supply of ammunition." 
These were indeed some of the grand results of 
laborious weeks. His mission was ended. He was 
profoundly grateful to the good God for its success. 
The great movement which he had started against 
oppression in his own country was awaiting his 
aggressive leadership. He did not tarry abroad, 
therefore, but set sail from London August 18, 1833, 
for New York, where he landed six weeks later. 



Garrison's Abolitionism was of the most radical 
character. It went the whole length of the humanity 
of the colored race, and all that that implied. They 
were, the meanest members, whether bond or free, 
his brothers and his sisters. From the first he re- 
garded them as bone of his bone and blood of his 
blood, as children with him of a common father. 
Poor and enslaved and despised to be sure, wronged 
by all men, and contemned by all men, but for that 
very reason they were deserving of his most devoted 
love and labor. He never looked down upon them 
as wanting in any essential respect the manhood 
which was his. They were men and as such 
entitled to immediate emancipation. They were 
besides entitled to equality of civil and political 
rights in the republic, entitled to equality and fra- 
ternity in the church, equality and fraternity at the 
North, equality and fraternity always and everywhere. 
This is what he preached, this is what he practiced. 
In not a single particular was he ever found separ- 
ating himself from his brother in black, saying to 
him " thus far but no farther." He never drew the 
line in public or private between him and the people 
whose cause was his cause — not even socially. He 
went into their homes and was in all things one with 




them. He forgot that he was white, forgot that they 
were black, forgot the pride of race, forgot the stigma 
of race too in the tie of human kinship which bound 
him to them. If he had what they did not possess, 
the rights of a man, the civil and political position of 
a man in the State, the equality of a brother in the 
church, it could not make him feel better than they, 
it filled him instead with a righteous sense of wrong, 
a passionate sympathy, a supreme desire and deter- 
mination to make his own rights the measure of 

" I lose sight of your present situation," he said 
in his address before Free People of Color, and 
look at it only in futurity. I imagine myself sur- 
rounded by educated men of color, the Websters, and 
Clays, and Hamiltons, and Dwights, and Edwardses 
of the day. I listen to their voice as judges and 
representatives, and rulers of the people — the whole 
people." This glowing vision was not the handiwork 
of a rhetorician writing with an eye to its effect upon 
his hearers. The ardent hope of the reformer was 
rather the father of the golden dream. 

This practical recognition of the negro as a man 
and a brother was the exact opposite of the treatment 
which was his terrible lot in the country. Never in 
all history was there a race more shamefully op- 
pressed by a dominant race than were the blacks by 
the whites of America. Held as slaves in the South, 
they were stamped as social outcasts at the North. 
There was no one, however mean or vicious, who if 
he possessed a white skin, was not treated more 
humanely than were they. In the most enlightened 
of the free States they were discriminated against by 


public laws and proscribed by public opinion. They 
were in a word pariahs of the republic. They were 
shut out from all the common rights, and privileges 
and opportunities enjoyed by the lowest of the 
favored race. They were denied equality in the pub- 
lic school. The principle of popular education had 
no application to a class which was not of the people, 
a class which the common sentiment of a Christian 
nation had placed at the zero point of political values, 
and meant to keep forever at that point. Entrance 
to the trades were barred to the blacks. What did 
they want with such things where there was no white 
trash so forgetful of his superiority as to consent to 
work by their side. Nowhere were they allowed the 
same traveling accommodations as white men, and they 
were everywhere excluded from public inns. Neither 
wealth nor refinement was able to procure them 
admission into other than " Jim Crow cars." If 
heart-sick at the outrages by every one heaped upon 
them they turned for consolation to the house of 
God, even there the spirit of proscription and caste 
prejudice met them, and pointed to the negro pew " 
where they sat corraled from the congregation as if 
they had no equal share in the salvation which the 
pulpit preached. Everywhere the white man had 
the right of way, even on the highway to heaven ! 
And in no place was the negro made to feel the pre- 
judice against his color more gallingly than in 
churches arrogating the name of Christian. He had 
no rights on earth, he had none in trying to get into the 
bosom of the founder of Christianity, which the white 
sinners or saints were bound to respect. Even the 
liberty-loving Quakers of Philadelphia were not 



above the use of the " negro seat" in their meetings. 
Somehow they discerned that there was a great gulf 
separating in this life at least the white from the 
black believer. That God had made of one blood all 
nations of men, St. Paul had taught, but the Ameri- 
can church had with one accord in practice drawn 
the line at the poor despised colored man. He was 
excluded from ecclesiastical equality, for he was 
different from other men for whom Christ died. The 
Bible declared that man was made but a little lower 
than the angels ; the American people in their State 
and Church supplemented this sentiment by acts 
which plainly said that the negro was made but a 
little above the brute creation. 

Here are instances of the length to which the 
prejudice against color carried the churches in those 
early years of the anti-slavery movement : 

In 1830, a colored man, through a business transac- 
tion with a lessee of one of the pews in Park Street 
Church, came into possession of it. Thinking to 
make the best use of his opportunity to obtain relig- 
ious instruction for himself and family from this 
fountain of orthodoxy, the black pew-holder betook 
him, one Sunday, to " Brimstone Corner." But he 
was never permitted to repeat the visit. " Brimstone 
Corner " could not stand him another Lord's day, 
and thereupon promptly expelled him and his family 
out of its midst. The good deacons displayed their 
capacity for shielding their flock from consorting 
with " niggers," by availing themselves of a techni- 
cality to relet the pew to a member who was not 
cursed with a dark skin. On another Lord's day, in 
another stronghold of Boston Christianity, Oliver 



Johnson ran the battery of "indignant frowns of a 
large number of the congregation" for daring to take 
a fellow-Christian with a skin not colored like his 
own into his pew, to listen to Dr. Beecher. The 
good people of the old Baptist meeting-house, at 
Hartford, Conn., had evidently no intention of dis- 
turbing the heavenly calm of their religious devo- 
tions by so much as a thought of believers with black 
faces ; for by boarding up the " negro pews " in front 
and leaving only peep-holes for their occupants, they 
secured themselves from a sight of the obnoxious 
creatures, while Jehovah, who is no respecter of per- 
sons, was in His holy place. Incredible as it may 
seem, a church in the town of Stoughton, Mass., 
to rid itself of even a semblance of Christian fellow- 
ship and equality with a colored member, did actu- 
ally cut the floor from under the colored member's 
pew ! 

These cruel and anti-Christian distinctions in the 
churches affected Garrison in the most painful man- 
ner. He says : 

" I never can look up to these wretched retreats 
for my colored brethren without feeling my soul 
overwhelmed with emotions of shame, indignation, 
and sorrow." 

He had such an intimate acquaintance with mem- 
bers of this despised caste in Boston and Philadel- 
phia, and other cities, and appreciated so deeply their 
intrinsic worth and excellence, as men and brethren, 
that he felt their insults and injuries as if they were 
done to himself. He knew that beneath many a 
dark skin he had found real ladies and gentlemen, 
and he knew how sharper than a serpent's tooth to 



them was the American prejudice against their color. 
In 1832, just after a visit to Philadelphia, where he 
was the guest of Robert Purvis, and had seen much 
of the Fortens, he wrote a friend : 

" I wish you had been with me in Philadelphia to 
see what I saw, to hear what I heard, and to experi- 
ence what I felt in associating with many colored 
families. There are colored men and women, young 
men and young ladies, in that city, who have few 
superiors in refinement, in moral worth, and in all 
that makes the human character worthy of admira- 
tion and praise." 

Strange to say, notwithstanding all their merits 
and advancement, the free people of color received 
nothing but disparagement and contempt from emi- 
nent divines like Dr. Leonard W. Bacon and the em- 
issaries of the Colonization Society. They were " the 
most abandoned wretches on the face of the earth" ; 
they were " all that is vile, loathsome, and danger- 
ous" ; they were more degraded and miserable than 
the slaves," and ad infinitum through the whole gamut 
of falsehood and traduction. It was human for the 
American people to hate a class whom they had so 
deeply wronged, and altogether human for them to 
justify their atrocious treatment by blackening before 
the world the reputation of the said class. That this 
was actually done is the best of all proofs of the 
moral depravity of the nation which slavery had 

Garrison's vindication of the free people of color 
in Exeter Hall, London, on July 13, 1833, from this 
sort of detraction and villification is of historic value: 

" Sir," said he, addressing the chair, it is not pos- 


sible for the mind to coin, or the tongue to utter 
baser libels against an injured people. Their condi- 
tion is as much superior to that of the slaves as the 
light of heaven is more cheering than the darkness 
of the pit. Many of their number are in the most 
affluent circumstances, and distinguished for their 
refinement, enterprise, and talents. They have flour- 
ishing churches, supplied by pastors of their own 
color, in various parts of the land, embracing a large 
body of the truly excellent of the earth. They have 
public and private libraries. They have their tem- 
perance societies, their debating societies, their moral 
societies, their literary societies, their benevolent soci- 
eties, their saving societies, and a multitude of kin- 
dred associations. They have their infant schools, 
their primary and high schools, their sabbath schools, 
and their Bible classes. They contribute to the support 
of foreign and domestic missions to Bible and tract 
societies, etc. In the city of Philadelphia alone they 
have more than fifty associations for moral and intel- 
lectual improvement. In fact, they are rising up, 
even with mountains of prejudice piled upon them, 
with more than Titanic strength, and trampling be- 
neath their feet the slanders of their enemies. A 
spirit of virtuous emulation is pervading their ranks, 
from the young child to the gray head. Among them 
is taken a large number of daily and weekly news- 
papers, and of literary and scientific periodicals, from 
the popular monthlies up to the grave and erudite 
North American and American Quarterly Reviews. I 
have at this moment, to my own paper, the Liberator^ 
one thousand subscribers among this people; and, 
from an occupancy of the editorial chair for more 



tlian seven years, I can testify that they are more 
punctual in their payments than any five hundred 
white subscribers whose names I ever placed indis- 
criminately in my subscription book." 

There was an earnest desire on the part of the free 
people of color to raise the level of their class in the 
Union. At a convention held by them in Philadel- 
phia, in 1831, they resolved upon a measure calcu- 
lated to make up, to some extent, the deprivations 
which their children were suffering by being excluded 
from the higher schools of learning in the land. So 
they determined to establish a college on the manual- 
labor system for the education of colored youth. 
They appealed for aid to their benevolent friends, 
and fixed upon New Haven as the place to build their 
institution. Arthur Tappan, with customary benefi- 
cence, " purchased several acres of land, in the south- 
erly part . of the city, and made arrangements for the 
erection of a suitable building, and furnishing it with 
needful supplies, in a way to do honor to the city 
and country." 

The school, however, was never established owing 
to the violent hostility of the citizens, who with the 
Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council resolved in 
public meeting to resist the establishment of the 
proposed college in this place by every lawful means." 

The free people of color were derided because of 
their ignorance by their persecutors, but when they 
and their friends proposed a plan to reduce that igno- 
rance, their persecutors bitterly opposed its execu- 
tion. New Haven piety and philanthropy, as embod- 
ied in the Colonization Society, were not bent on the 
education of this class but on its emigration to the 


coast of Africa solely. In such sorry contradictions 
and cruelties did American prejudice against color 
involve American Christianity and humanity. 

This outrage was perpetrated in 1831. Two years 
afterward Connecticut enacted altogether the most 
shameful crime in her history. There lived in the 
year 1833, in the town of Canterbury, in that State, 
an accomplished young Quaker woman, named Pru- 
dence Crandall. Besides a superior education, she 
possessed the highest character. And this was well; 
for she was the principal of the Female Boarding 
School located in that town. The institution was, in 
1833, at the beginning of its third year, and in a flour- 
ishing condition. While pursuing her vocation of a 
teacher, Miss Crandall made the acquaintance of the 
Liberator through a " nice colored girl," who was at 
service in the school. Abhorring slavery from child- 
hood, it is no wonder that the earnestness of the 
Liberator exerted an immediate and lasting influence 
upon the sympathies of the young principal. The 
more she read and the more she thought upon the 
subject the more aroused she became to the wrongs 
of which her race was guilty to the colored people. 
She, too, would lend them a helping hand in their 
need. Presently there came to her a colored girl 
who was thirsting for an education such as the Can- 
terbury Boarding School for young ladies was dis- 
pensing to white girls. This was Miss Crandall's 
opportunity to do something for the colorerl people, 
and she admitted the girl to her classes. But she 
had no sooner done so than there were angry objec- 
tions to the girl's remaining. 

The wife of an Episcopal clergyman who lived in 



the village," Miss Crandall records, told me that if 
I continued that colored girl in my school it would 
not be sustained." 

She heroically refused to turn the colored pupil out 
of the school, and thereby caused a most extraordinary 
exhibition of Connecticut chivalry and Christianity. 

Seeing how matters stood with her in these circum- 
stances, Prudence Crandall conceived the remarkable 
purpose of devoting her school to the education of 
colored girls exclusively. She did not know whether 
her idea was practicable, and so in her perplexity she 
turned for counsel to the editor of the Liberator. She 
went to Boston for this purpose, and there, at the old 
Marlboro' Hotel, on Washington street, on the even- 
ing of January 29, 1833, she discussed this business 
with Mr. Garrison. This visit and interview con- 
firmed the brave soul in her desire to change her 
school into one for the higher education of colored 
girls. It was expected that a sufficient number of 
such pupils could be obtained from well-to-do colored 
families in cities like Boston, Providence, and New 
York to assure the financial success of the enterprise. 
When Miss Crandall had fully matured her plans in 
the premises she announced them to the Canterbury 
public. But if she had announced that she con- 
templated opening a college for the spread of con- 
tagious diseases among her townspeople, Canterbury 
could not possibly have been more agitated and 
horrified. Every door in the village was slammed in 
her face. She was denounced in town meetings, and 
there was not chivalry enough to cause a single 
neighbor to speak in her defence. Samuel J. May 
had to come from an adjoining town for this pur- 



pose. "But," says Mr. May, " they would not hear 
me. They shut their ears and rushed upon me with 
threats of personal violence." 

As there was nothing in the statutes of Connecti- 
cut which made the holding of such a school as that 
of Miss Crandall's illegal, the good Canterbury folk 
procured the passage of a hasty act through the Leg- 
islature, which was then in session, " making it a 
penal offence, punishable by fine and imprisonment, 
for any one in that State keeping a school to take as 
his or her pupils the children of colored people of 
other States." But the heart of the young Quaker 
woman was the heart of a heroine. She dared to 
disregard the wicked law, was arrested, bound over 
for trial, and sent to jail like a common malefactor. 
It was no use, persecution could not cow the noble 
prisoner into submission to the infamous statute. In 
her emergency truth raised up friends who rallied 
about her in the unparalleled contest which raged 
around her person and her school. There was no 
meanness or maliciousness to which her enemies did 
not stoop to crush and ruin her and her cause. "The 
newspapers of the county and of the adjoining coun- 
ties teemed with the grossest misrepresentations, and 
the vilest insinuations," says Mr. May, " against Miss 
Crandall, her pupils, and her patrons ; but for the 
most part, peremptorily refused us any room in their 
columns to explain our principles and purposes, or to 
refute the slanders they were circulating." Four or 
five times within two years she was forced into court 
to defend her acts against the determined malignity 
of men who stood high in the Connecticut Church 
and State. The shops in the town boycotted her, the 


churches closed their doors to her and her pupils. 
Public conveyances refused to receive them, and phy- 
sicians to prescribe for them. It is said that the 
heroic soul was cut off from intercourse with her own 
family, in the hope doubtless that she would the 
sooner capitulate to the negro-hating sentiment of 
her neighbors. But firm in her resolve the fair 
Castellan never thought of surrendering the citadel 
of her conscience at the bidding of iniquitous power. 
Then, like savages, her foes defiled with the excre- 
ment of cattle the well whence the school drew its 
supply of water, attacked the house with rotten eggs 
and stones, and daubed it with filth. This drama of 
diabolism was fitly ended by the introduction of the 
fire fiend, and the burning of the detestable building 
devoted to the higher education of " niggers." 
Heathenism was, indeed, outdone by Canterbury 

The circumstances of this outrage kindled Garri- 
son's indignation to the highest pitch. Words were 
inadequate to express his emotions and agony of 
soul. In the temper of bold and clear-eyed leader- 
ship he wrote George W. Benson, his future brother- 
in-law, " we may as well, first as last," meet this pro- 
scriptive spirit, and conquer it. We — /'. all the 
friends of the cause — must make this a common con- 
cern. The New Haven excitement has furnished a 
bad precedent — a second must not be given or I know 
not what we can do to raise up the colored popula- 
tion in a manner which their intellectual and moral 
necessities demand. In Boston we are all excited at 
the Canterbury affair. Colonizationists are rejoicing 
and Abolitionists looking sternly." Like a true gen- 



eral Garrison took in from his Liberator outlook the 
entire field of the struggle. No friend of the slave, 
however distant, escaped his quick sympathy or 
ready reinforcements. To him the free people of color 
turned for championship, and to the Liberator as a 
mouthpiece. The battle for their rights and for the 
the freedom of their brethren in the South advanced 
apace. Everywhere the army of their friends and the 
army of their foes were in motion, and the rising 
storm winds of justice and iniquity were beginning 
" to bellow through the vast and boundless deep " of 
a nation's soul. 



William Lloyd Garrison's return from his Eng- 
lish mission was signalized by two closely related 
events, viz., the formation of the New York City 
Anti-Slavery Society, and the appearance of the first 
of a succession of anti-slavery mobs in the North. 
The news of his British successes had preceded him, 
and prepared for him a warm reception on the part of 
his pro-slavery countrymen. For had he not with 
malice prepense put down the " most glorious of 
Christian enterprises," and rebuked his own country 
in the house of strangers as recreant to freedom ? And 
when O'Connell in Exeter Hall pointed the finger of 
scorn at America and made her a by-word and a hiss- 
ing in the ears of Englishmen, was it not at a meet- 
ing got up to further the designs of this " misguided 
young gentlemen who has just returned from Eng- 
land whither he has recently been for the sole pur- 
pose as it would seem [to the Commercial Advertiser] 
of traducing the people and institutions of his own 
country." Had he not caught up and echoed back 
the hissing thunder of the great Irish orator : — Shame 
on the American Slaveholders ! Base wretches should 
we shout in chorus — base wretches, how dare you 
profane the temple of national freedom, the sacred 


fane of Republican rites, with the presence and the 
sufferings of human beings in chains and slavery ! " 

The noise of these treasons on a foreign shore, 
" deafening the sound of the westerly wave, and rid- 
ing against the blast as thunder goes," to borrow 
O'Connell's graphic and grandiose phrases, had 
reached the country in advance of Mr. Garrison. The 
national sensitiveness was naturally enough stung to 
the quick. Here is a pestilent fellow who is not 
content with disturbing the peace of the Union with 
his new fanaticism, but must needs presume to make 
the dear Union odious before the world as well. And 
his return, what is it to be but the signal for increased 
agitation on the slavery question. The conquering 
hero comes and his fanatical followers salute him 
forthwith with a new anti-slavery society, which 
means a fresh instrument in his hands to stir up strife 
between the North and the South. Are we tamely 
to look on, and see this most dangerous species of 
fanaticism extending itself through society ? " shrieked 
on the morning of Mr. Garrison's arrival in New York 
Harbor, the malignant editor of the Courier and 

The pro-slavery and lawless elements of the city 
were not slow to take the cue given by metropolitan 
papers, and to do the duty of patriots upon their 
country's enemies. Arthur Tappen and his anti-slav- 
ery associates outwitted these patriotic gentlemen, 
who attended in a body at Clinton Hall on the even- 
ing of October 2, 1833, to perform the aforesaid duty 
of patriots, while the objects of their attention were 
convened at Chatham Street Chapel and organizing 
their new fanaticism. The mob flew wide of its 



mark a second time, for when later in the evening it 
began a serenade more expressive than musical before 
the entrance to the little chapel on Chatham street 
the members of the society " folded their tents like 
the Arabs and as silently stole away." The Abolition- 
ists accomplished their design and eluded their ene- 
mies at the same time. But the significance of the 
riotous demonstration went not unobserved by them 
and their newly arrived leader. It was plain from 
that night that if the spirit of Abolitionism had risen, 
the spirit of persecution had risen also. 

A somewhat similar reception saluted the reformer 
in Boston. An inflammatory handbill announced to 
his townsmen his arrival. " The true American has 
returned, alias William Lloyd Garrison, the ' Negro 
Champion,' from his disgraceful mission to the Brit- 
ish metropolis," etc., etc., and w^ound up its artful list 
of lies with the malignant suggestion that " He is now 
in your power — do not let him escape you, but go 
this evening, armed with plenty of tar and feathers 
and administer to him justice at his abode at No. 9 
Merchant's Hall, Congress street." In obedience to 
this summons, a reception committee in the shape of 
" a dense mob, breathing threatenings which forboded 
a storm," did pay their respects to the " true Ameri- 
can " in front of his abode at the Liberator office. 
Fortunately the storm passed over without breaking 
that evening on the devoted head of the Negro 
Champion." But the meaning of the riotous demon- 
stration it was impossible to miss. Like the mob in 
New York it clearly indicated that the country was 
on the outer edge of an area of violent disturbances 
on the subject of slavery. 


The peril which Garrison had twice escaped was 
indeed grave, but neither it nor the certainty of 
future persecution could flutter or depress his spirits. 
" For myself," he wrote subsequently in the Liberator^ 
" I am ready to brave any danger even unto death. 
I feel no uneasiness either in regard to my fate or to 
the success of the cause of Abolition. Slavery must 
speedily be abolished ; the blow that shall sever the 
chains of the slaves may shake the nation to its 
center — may momentarily disturb the pillars of the 
Union — but it shall redeem the character, extend the 
influence, establish the security, and increase the 
prosperity of our great republic." It was not the 
rage and malice of his enemies which the brave soul 
minded, but the ever-present knowledge of human 
beings in chains and slavery whom he must help. 
Nothing could separate him from his duty to them, 
neither dangers present nor persecutions to come. 
The uncertainty of life made him only the more 
zealous in their behalf. The necessity of doing, doing, 
and yet ever doing for the slave was plainly pressing 
deep like thorns into his thoughts. " I am more and 
more impressed;" he wrote a friend a few weeks later, 

I am more and more impressed with the importance 
of * working whilst the day lasts.' If * we all do fade 
as a leaf,* if we are ' as the sparks that fly upward,' 
if the billows of time are swiftly removing the sandy 
foundation of our life, what we intend to do for the 
captive, and for our country, and for the subjugation 
of a hostile world, must be done quickly. Happily 
* our light afflictions are but for a moment."* 

This yearning of the leader for increased activity 
in the cause of immediate emancipation was shared 



by friends and disciples in different portions of the 
country. Few and scattered as were the Abolition- 
ists, they so much the more needed to band together 
for the great conflict with a powerful and organized 
evil. This evil was organized on a national scale, 
the forces of righteousness which were rising against 
it, if they were ever to overcome it and rid the land 
of it, had needs to be organized on a national scale 
also. Garrison with the instinct of a great reformer 
early perceived the immense utility of a national 
anti-slavery organization for mobilizing the whole 
available Abolition sentiment of the free States in a 
moral agitation of national and tremendous pro- 

He had not long to wait after his return from 
England before this desire of his soul was satisfied. 
It was in fact just a month afterward that a call for 
a convention for the formation of the American Anti- 
Slavery Society went out from New York to the friends 
of immediate emancipation throughout the North. As 
an evidence of the dangerously excited state of the 
popular mind on the subject of slavery there stands 
in the summons the significant request to delegates 
to regard the call as confidential. The place fixed 
upon for holding the convention was Philadelphia, 
and the time December 4, 1833. 

Garrison bestirred himself to obtain for the con- 
vention a full representation of the friends of free- 
dom. He sent the call to George W. Benson, at 
Providence, urging him to spread the news among 
the Abolitionists of his neighborhood and to secure 
the election of a goodly number of delegates by the 
society in Rhode Island. He forthwith bethought 


him of Whittier on his farm in Haverhill, and 
enjoined his old friend to fail not to appear in Phila- 
delphia. But while the young poet longed to go to 
urge upon his Quaker brethren of that city to make 
their solemn testimony against slavery visible over 
the whole land — to urge them, by the holy memories 
of Woolman and Benezet and Tyson to come up as 
of old to the standard of Divine Truth, though even 
the fires of another persecution should blaze around 
them," he feared that he would not be able to do so. 
The spirit was surely willing but the purse was 
empty, as thee know," he quaintly adds, "our farm- 
ing business does not put much cash in our pockets." 
The cash he needed was generously supplied by 
j Samuel E. Sewall, and Whittier went as a delegate 
to the convention after all. The disposition on the 
part of some of the poorer delegates was so strong to 
be present at the convention that not even the lack 
of money was sufficient to deter them from setting 
j out on the expedition. Two of them, David T. Kim- 
! ball and Daniel E. Jewett, from Andover, Mass., did 
actually supplement the deficiencies of their pocket- 
books by walking to New Haven, the aforesaid 
pocket-books being equal to the rest of the journey 
from that point. 

About sixty delegates found their way to Philadel- 
phia and organized on the morning of December 4th, 
in Adelphi Hall, the now famous convention. It was 
a notable gathering of apostolic spirits — " mainly 
composed of comparatively young men, some in 
middle age, and a few beyond that period." They 
had come together from ten of the twelve free States, 
which fact goes to show the rapid, the almost epi- 



demic-like spread of Garrisonian Abolitionism through 
the North. The Liberator was then scarcely three 
years old, and its editor had not until the second day 
of the convention attained the great age of twenty- 
eight ! The convention of 1787 did not comprise 
more genuine patriotism and wisdom than did this 
memorable assembly of American Abolitionists. It 
was from beginning to end an example of love to 
God and love to men, of fearless scorn of injustice 
and fearless devotion to liberty. Not one of those 
three score souls who made up the convention, who 
did not take his life in his hand by reason of the 
act. It was not the love of fame surely which brought 
them over so many hundreds of miles, which made so 
many of them endure real physical privation, which 
drew all by a common, an irresistible impulse to con- 
gregate for an unpopular purpose within reach of 
the teeth and the claws of an enraged public 

The convention, as one man might have said with 
the single-minded Lundy, " My heart was deeply 
grieved at the gross abomination ; I heard the wail 
of the captive ; I felt his pang of distress ; and the 
iron entered my soul." The iron of slavery had 
indeed entered the soul of every member of the con- 
vention. It was the divine pang and pity of it which 
collected from the East and from the West this re- 
markable body of reformers. 

The story of how they had to find a president illus- 
trates the contemporary distrust and antagonism, 
which the anti-slavery movement aroused among the 
men of standing and influence. Knowing in what 
bad odor they were held by the community, and anx- 



ious only to serve their cause in the most effective 
manner, the members of the convention hit upon the 
plan of asking some individual eminent for his res- 
pectability to preside over their deliberations, and 
thereby disarm the public suspicions and quiet the 
general apprehensions felt in respect of the incen- 
diary character of their intention. So in pursuance 
of this plan six of their number were dispatched on 
the evening of December 3d to seek such a man. But 
the quest of the committee like that of Diogenes 
proved a failure. After two attempts and two 
repulses the committee were not disposed to invite 
the humiliation of a third refusal and must have lis- 
tened with no little relief, to this blunt summary of 
the situation by Beriah Green, who was one of the 
six. " If there is not timber amongst ourselves," 
quoth Green, " big enough to make a president of, 
let us get along without one, or go home and stay 
there until we have grown up to be men." The next 
day Green was chosen, and established in a manner 
never to be forgotten by his associates that the con- 
vention did possess timber big enough to make a 
president of." 

Narrow as were the circumstances of many of the 
members, the convention was by no means destitute 
of men of wealth and business prominence. Such were 
the Winslows, Isaac and Nathan, of Maine, Arnold 
Buffum, of Massachusetts, and John Rankin and 
Lewis Tappan, of New York. Scholarship, talents, 
and eloquence abounded among the delegates. Here 
there was no lack, no poverty, but extraordinary suf- 
ficiency, almost to redundancy. The presence of the 
gentler sex was not wanting to lend grace and pictur- 



esqueness to the occasion. The beautiful and benig- 
nant countenance of Lucretia Mott shed over the 
proceedings the soft radiance of a pure and regnant 
womanhood ; while the handful of colored delegates 
with the elegant figure of Robert Purvis at their head, 
added pathos and picturesqueness to the personnel of 
the convention. Neither was the element of danger 
wanting to complete the historic scene. Its presence 
was grimly manifest in the official intimation that 
evening meetings of the convention could not be pro- 
tected, by the demonstrations of popular ill-will which 
the delegates encountered on the streets, by the 
detachment of constabulary guarding the entrance to 
Adelphi Hall, and by the thrillingly significant precau- 
tion observed by the delegates of sitting with locked 
doors. Over the assembly it impended cruel and 
menacing like fate. Once securely locked within the 
hall, the Abolitionists discreetly abstained from leav- 
ing it at noon for dinner, well knowing how small a 
spark it takes to kindle a great fire. It was foolhardy 
to show themselves nnnecessarily to the excited 
crowds in the streets, and so mindful that true cour- 
age consisteth not in recklessness, they despatched 
one of their number for crackers and cheese, which 
they washed down with copious draughts of cold 
water. But they had that to eat and drink besides, 
whereof the spirits of mischief without could not 

The grand achievement of the convention was, of 
course, the formation of the American Anti-Slavery 
Society, but the crown of the whole was unquestion- 
ably the Declaration of Sentiments. The composi- 
tion of this instrument has an interesting history. It 



seems that the delegates considered that the remark- 
able character of the movement which they were 
launching upon the wide sea of national attention 
demanded of them an expression altogether worthy 
of so momentous an undertaking. The adoption of 
a constitution for this purpose was felt to be inade- 
quate. A constitution was indispensable, but some 
other expression was necessary to give to their work 
its proper proportion and importance. Such a man- 
ifestation it was deemed meet to make in the form of 
a declaration of sentiments. A committee was accord- 
ingly appointed to draft the declaration. This com- 
mittee named three of its number, consisting of Gar- 
rison, Whittier, and Samuel J. May to draw up the 
document. The sub-committee in turn deputed Gar- 
rison to do the business. 

Mr. May has told in his Recollections of the Anti- 
Slavery Conflict^ how he and Whittier left their friend 
at ten o'clock in the evening, agreeing to call at eight 
the following morning and how on their return at 
the appointed hour they found Garrison with shutters 
closed and lamps burning, penning the last para- 
graph of the admirable document. He has told how 
they three read it over together two or three times, 
making some slight alterations in it, and how at nine 
o'clock the draft was laid by them before the w^hole 
committee. The author of the recollections has left 
a graphic account of its effect upon the convention. 
** Never in my life," he says, " have I seen a deeper 
impression made by words than was made by that 
admirable document upon all who were present. 
After the voice of the reader had ceased there was 
silence for several minutes. Our hearts were in per- 



feet unison. There was but one thought with us all. 
Either of the members could have told what the 
whole convention felt. We felt that the word had 
just been uttered which would be mighty, through 
God, to the pulling down of the strongholds of 
slavery." Such was the scene at the first reading of 
the Declaration of Sentiments, Dr. Atlee, the reader. 
The effect at its final reading was, if possible, even 
more dramatic and eloquent. Whittier has depicted 
this closing and thrilling scene. He has described 
how Samuel J. May read the declaration for the last 
time. " His sweet, persuasive voice faltered with 
the intensity of his emotions as he repeated the 
solemn pledges of the concluding paragraphs. After 
a season of silence, David Thurston of Maine, rose as 
his name was called by one of the secretaries and 
affixed his name to the document. One after another 
passed up to the platform, signed, and retired in 
silence. All felt the deep responsibility of the occa- 
sion — the shadow and forecast of a life-long struggle 
rested upon every countenance." 

The effects, so electrical and impressive, which fol- 
lowed the reading of the declaration were not 
disproportioned to its merits, for it was an instru- 
ment of singular power, wisdom, and eloquence. 
Indeed, to this day, more than half a century after it 
was written it still has virtue to quicken the breath 
and stir the pulses of a sympathetic reader out of 
their normal time. A great passion for freedom and 
righteousness irradiates like a central light the whole 
memorable document. It begins by a happy refer- 
ence to an earlier convention, held some fifty-seven 
years before in the same place, and which adopted a 



declaration holding that all men are created equal ; 
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain 
inalienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness ; " and how at the trum- 
pet-call of its authors three millions of people rushed 
to arms 'deeming it more glorious to die instantly 
as free men, than desirable to live one hour as slaves"; 
and how, though few in number and poor in re- 
sources those same people were rendered invincible 
by the conviction that truth, justice, and right were 
on their side. But the freedom won by the men of 
1776 was incomplete without the freedom for which 
the men of 1833 were striving. The authors of the 
new declaration would not be inferior to the authors 
of the old in purity of motive, in earnestness of 
zeal, in decision of purpose, intrepidity of action, in 
steadfastness of faith, in sincerity of spirit." Unlike 
the older actors, the younger had eschewed the 
sword, the spilling of human blood in defence of 
their principles. Theirs was a moral warfare, the 
grappling of truth with error, of the power of love 
with the inhumanities of the nation. Then it glances 
at the wrongs which the fathers suffered, and at the 
enormities which the slaves were enduring. The 
" fathers were never slaves, never bought and sold 
like cattle, never shut out from the light of knowledge 
and religion, never subjected to the lash of brutal 
taskmasters," but all these woes and more, an unim- 
aginable mountain of agony and misery, was the 
appalling lot of the slaves in the Southern States. 
The guilt of this nation, which partners such a crime 
against human nature, " is unequaled by any other 
on earth," and therefore it is bound to instant repent- 



ance, and to the immediate restitution of justice to 
the oppressed. 

The Declaration of Sentiments denies the right of 
man to hold property in a brother man, affirms the 
identity in principle between the African slave trade 
and American slavery, the imprescriptibility of the 
rights of the slaves to liberty, the nullity of all laws 
which run counter to human rights, and the grand 
doctrine of civil and political equality in the Repub- 
lic, regardless of race and complexional differences. 
It boldly rejects the principle of compensated eman- 
cipation, because it involves a surrender of the posi- 
tion that man cannot hold property in man ; because 
slavery is a crime, and the master is not wronged by 
emancipation but the slaves righted, restored to 
themselves ; because immediate and general emanci- 
pation would only destroy nominal, not real, property, 
the labor of the slaves would still remain to the 
masters and doubled by the new motives which free- 
dom infuses into the breasts of her children ; and, 
finally because, if compensation is to be given at all it 
ought to be given to those who have been plundered 
of their rights. It spurns in one compact paragraph 
the pretensions of the colonization humbug as "delu- 
sive, cruel, and dangerous." 

But lofty and uncompromising as were the moral 
principles and positions of the declaration, it never- 
theless recognized with perspicuity of vision the 
Constitutional limitations of the Federal Govern- 
ment in relation to slavery. It frankly conceded 
that Congress had no right to meddle with the evil in 
any of the States. But wherever the national juris- 
diction reached the general government Vvas bound 


to interfere and suppress the traffic in human flesh. 
It was the duty of Congress, inasmuch as it possessed 
the power, to abolish slavery in the District of 
Columbia, the National Territories, along the coast 
and between the States. The free States are the 
pariiceps criminis of the slave States. They are living 
under a pledge of their tremendous physical force to 
rivet the manacles of chattel slavery upon millions in 
the South ; they are liable at any instant to be called 
on under the Constitution to suppress a general 
insurrection of the slaves. This relationship is crimi- 
nal, " is full of danger, it must be broken up." 

So much for the views and principles of the 
declaration, now for the designs and measures as 
enumerated therein : " We shall organize anti-slavery 
societies, if possible, in every city, town and village 
in our land. 

" We shall send forth agents to lift up the voice of 
remonstrance, of warning, of entreaty, and of rebuke. 

" We shall circulate, unsparingly and extensively, 
anti-slavery tracts and periodicals. 

" We shall enlist the pulpit and the press in the 
cause of the suffering and the dumb. 

" We shall aim at a purification of the churches 
from all participation in the guilt of slavery. 

" We shall encourage the labor of freemen rather 
than that of slaves, by giving a preference to their 
productions ; and 

" We shall spare no exertions nor means to bring 
the whole nation to speedy repentance." 

The instrument closes by pledging the utmost of 
its signers to the overthrow of slavery — come what 
may to our persons, our interests, or our reputations 



— whether we live to witness the triumph of Liberty, 
Justice, and Humanity, or perish untimely as mar- 
tyrs in this great, benevolent, and holy cause." Twin 
pledge it was to that ancestral, historic one made in 
1776 : " And for the support of this declaration, with 
a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVI- 
DENCE, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, 
our fortunes, and our sacred honor." 

Whittier has predicted for the Declaration of 
Sentiments an enduring fame : " It will live," he 
declares, " as long as our national history." Samuel 
J. May was equally confident that this " Declaration of 
the Rights of Man," as he proudly cherished it, would 
" live a perpetual, impressive protest against every 
form of oppression, until it shall have given place to 
that brotherly kindness which all the children of the 
common Father owe to one another " As a particu- 
lar act and parchment-roll of high thoughts and 
resolves, highly expressed, it will not, I think, attain 
to the immortality predicted for it. For as such it 
has in less than two generations passed almost 
entirely out of the knowledge and recollection of 
Americans. But in another sense it is destined to 
realize all that has been foreshadowed for it by its 
friends. Like elemental fire its influence will glow 
and flame at the center of our national life long after 
as a separate and sovereign entity it shall have been 
forgotten by the descendants of its illustrious author 
and signers. 

The convention was in session three days, and its 
proceedings were filled with good resolutions and 
effective work. Arthur Tappan was elected Presi- 
dent of the national organization, and William Green, 


Jr., Treasurer. Elizur Wright, Jr., was chosen Secre- 
tary of Domestic Correspondence, William Lloyd 
Garrison Secretary of Foreign Correspondence, and 
Abraham L. Cox Recording Secretary. Besides 
these officers there were a Board of Management and 
a number of Vice-Presidents selected. For three 
days the hearts of the delegates burned within them 
toward white-browed Duty and the master, Justice, 
who stood in their midst and talked with divine 
accents to their spirits of how men were enslaved 
and cruelly oppressed by men, their own brothers, 
and how the cry of these bondmen came up to 
them for help. And with one accord there fell upon 
the delegates a pang and pity, an uplifting, impelling 
sense of * woe unto us ' if we withhold from our 
brethren in bonds the help required of us. This 
rising tide of emotion and enthusiasm gathering 
mass at each sitting of the convention, culminated 
during the several readings of the Declaration of 
Sentiments. And when on the third day Beriah 
Green brought the congress to a close in a valedic- 
tory address of apostolic power and grandeur, and 
with a prayer so sweet, so fervent, and strong as to 
melt all hearts, the pent-up waters of the reform was 
ready to hurl themselves into an agitation the like 
of which had never before, nor has since, been seen 
or felt in the Union. Thenceforth freedom's little 
ones were not without great allies, who were ex- 
ultations, agonies, and love, and man's unconquerable 

Everywhere the flood of Abolitionism burst upon 
the land, everywhere the moral deluge spread through 
the free States. Anti-slavery societies rose as it were, 


out of the ground, so rapid, so astonishing were their 
growth during the year following the formation of 
the national society. In nearly every free State they 
had appeared doubling and quadrupling in number, 
until new societies reached in that first year to up- 
wards of forty. Anti-slavery agents and lecturers 
kept pace with the anti-slavery societies. They began 
to preach, to remonstrate, to warn, entreat, and re- 
buke until their voices sounded like the roar of many 
waters in the ears of the people. Wherever there was 
a school-house, a hall, or a church, there they were, 
ubiquitous, irrepressible, a cry in the wilderness of a 
nation's iniquity. Anti-slavery tracts and periodicals 
multiplied and started from New York and Boston 
in swarms, and clouds, the thunder of their wings 
were as the thunder of falling avelanches to the guilty 
conscience of the country. There was no State, 
city, town, or village in the Republic where their 
voice was not heard. 

The Rev. Amos A Phelp's Lectures on Slavery 
and Its Remedy; " "the Rev. J. D. Paxton's * Letters 
on Slavery * ; the Rev. S. J. May's letters to Andrew 
T, Judson, * The Rights of Colored People to Educa- 
tion Vindicated ' ; Prof. Elizur Wright, Jr's, * Sin of 
Slavery and Its Remedy ; ' Whittier's 'Justice and Ex- 
pediency ' ; and, above all, Mrs. Lydia Maria Child's 
startling ' Appeal in favor of that class of Americans 
called Africans ' were the more potent of the new 
crop of writings betokening the vigor of Mr. Garrison's 
Propagandism," says that storehouse of anti- 
slavery facts the " Life of Garrison " by his children. 
Swift poured the flood, widespread the inundation of 
anti-slavery publications. Money, although not com- 



mensurate with the vast wants of the crusade, came 
in in copious and generous streams. A marvelous 
munificence characterized the charity of wealthy 
Abolitionists. The poor gave freely of their mite, 
and the rich as freely of their thousands. Something 
of the state of simplicity and community of goods 
which marked the early disciples of Christianity 
seemed to have revived in the hearts of this band of 
American reformers. A spirit of renunciation, of 
self-sacrifice, of brotherly kindness, of passionate love 
of righteousness, of passionate hatred of wrong, of 
self-consecration to truth and of martyrdom lifted 
the reform to as high a moral level as had risen 
any movement for the betterment of mankind in any 
age of the world. 

The resolutions of the signers of the Declaration of 
Sentiment, to enlist the pulpit in the cause of the 
suffering and dumb, and to attempt the purification 
of the churches from all participation in the guilt of 
slavery, encountered determined opposition from the 
pulpits and the churches themselves. The Abolition- 
ists were grieved and indignant at the pro-slavery 
spirit which pulpits and churches displayed. But 
what happened was as we now look back at those 
proceedings, an inevitable occurrence, a foregone 
conclusion. The pulpits were only representative of 
the religion of the pews, and the pews were occupied 
by the same sort of humanity that toil and spin and 
haggle over dollars and cents six out of every seven 
days. They have their selfish and invested interests, 
fixed social notions, relationships, and prejudices, 
which an episode like Sunday, churches, and sermons 
do not seriously affect. Indeed, Sunday, churches. 


and sermons constitute an institution of modern civil- 
ization highly conservative of invested interests, 
fixed social notions, relationships, and prejudices. 
Who advances a new idea, a reformatory movement, 
disturbs the status quo, stirs up the human bees in 
that great hive called society, and that lesser one 
called the church, and he must needs expect to have 
the swarm about his head. 

This was precisely what happened in the case of 
the anti-slavery movement. It threatened the then 
status quo of property rights, it attacked the fixed 
social notions, relationships, and prejudices of the 
South and of the North alike. The revolution which 
this new idea involved in the slave States, was of the 
most radical character, going down to a complete re- 
construction of their entire social system. At once 
the human hornets were aroused, and in these circum- 
stances, the innocent and the guilty were furiously 
beset. Because the new idea which disturbed the 
South had originated in the North, the wrath of the 
South rose hot against not the authors of the new 
idea alone but against the people of that section as 
well. But this sectional unpleasantness endangered 
the stability of the Union, and menaced with obstruc- 
tions and diversions the golden stream of Northern 
traffic, dollars, and dividends. This was intolerable, 
and forthwith the Apiarian brotherhood of the free 
States put together their heads with those of the slave 
States to attack, sting, and utterly abolish the new 
idea, and the new idea's supporters. The Northern 
churches were, of course, in the Northern brother- 
hood. And when the new fanaticism threatened the 
financial stability of the pews, the pulpits instead of 


exerting themselves in behalf of the suffering and 
dumb slaves, exerted themselves to preserve the pros- 
perity of the pews by frowning down the friends of 
the slaves. They were among the first to stone the 
new idea and its fiery prophets. " Away with them! " 
shouted in chorus pulpit and pews. Sad ? yes, but 
alas ! natural, too. These men were not better nor 
worse than the average man. They were the average 
men of their generation, selfish, narrow, material, 
encrusted in their prejudices like snails in their shells, 
struggling upward at a snail's pace to the larger life, 
with its added sweetness and humanities, but experi- 
encing many a discomfiture by the way from those 
foul and triple fiends, the World, the Flesh, and the 

Nowhere in the churches was their opposition to 
the Abolition movement more persistent and illiberal 
than in the theological seminaries, whence the pulpits 
drew their supplies of preachers. Like master, like 
servant, these institutions were indentured to the pub- 
lic, and reflected as in a mirror the body and pressure 
of its life and sentiment. That a stream cannot rise 
higher than its source, although a theological stream, 
found remarkable demonstration in the case of Lane 
Seminary. Here after the publication of the 
"Thoughts on Colonization," and the formation of 
the National Society, an earnest spirit of inquiry broke 
out among the students on the subject of slavery. It 
was at first encouraged by the President, Lyman 
Beecher, who offered to go in and discuss the question 
with his "boys." That eminent man did not long 
remain in this mind. The discussions which he so 
lightly allowed swept through the institution with the 


force of a great moral awakening. They were con- 
tinued during nine evenings and turned the seminary 
at their close, so far as the students went, into an 
anti-slavery society. This is not the place to go at 
length into the history of that anti-slavery debate, 
which, in its consequences, proved one of the events 
of the anti-slavery conflict. Its leader was Theodore 
D. Weld, who was until Wendell Phillips appeared 
upon the scene, the great orator of the agitation. 

Dr. Beecher had no notion of raising such a ghost 
when he said, " Go ahead, boys, I'll go in and discuss 
with you." It was such an apparition of independence 
and righteousness as neither the power of the trustees 
nor the authority of the faculty was ever able to dis- 
miss. The virtue of a gag rule was tried to suppress 
Abolition among the students, but instead of suppress- 
ing Abolition, it well-nigh suppressed the seminary; 
for, rather than wear a gag on the obnoxious subject, 
the students — to between seventy and eighty, compris- 
ing nearly the whole muster-roll of the school — with- 
drew from an institution where the exercise of the 
right of free inquiry and free speech on a great moral 
question was denied and repressed. The same spirit 
of repression arose later in the Theological School at 
Andover, Mass. There the gag was effectively applied 
by the faculty, and all inquiry and discussion relat- 
ing to slavery disappeared among the students. But 
the attempt to impose silence upon the students of 
Phillips's Academy near-by was followed by the seces- 
sion of forty or fifty of the students. 

Ah ! the Abolitionists had undertaken to achieve 
the impossible, when they undertook to enlist the 
pulpit in the cause of the slaves, and to purify the 


churches from all participation in the guilt of slavery. 
For the average man, whether within or without the 
church, is not controlled in his conduct toward his 
brother man by the principles aud precepts of Jesus, 
but by the laws of social and individual selfishness. 
These selfish forces may at epochal moments align 
themselves with justice and liberty, and they not 
infrequently do, otherwise human progress must be 
at an end. In advancing themselves, they perforce 
advance justice and liberty. Thus do men love their 
neighbors as themselves, and move forward to frater- 
nity and equality in kingdoms and commonwealths. 
The special province of moral reformers, like Garri- 
son and the Abolitionists, seems to be to set these 
egoistic and altruistic elements of human society at 
war, the one against the other, thereby compelling its 
members and classes, willy nilly, to choose between 
the belligerents. Some will enlist on one side, some 
on the other, but in the furnace heat of the passions 
which ensues, an ancient evil, or a bad custom or 
institution, gets the vitality burned out of it, which in 
due time falls as slag out of the new order that arises 
at the close of the conflict. 



Mr. Garrison, in a private letter to a friend under 
date of September 12, 1834, summarises the doings 
of the preceding twelve months of his life, and makes 
mention of a fact which lends peculiar interest to 
that time : It has been the most eventful year," he 
remarks, " in my history. I have been the occasion 
of many uproars, and a continual disturber of the 
public peace. As soon as I landed I turned the city 
of New York upside down. Five thousand people 
turned out to see me tarred and feathered, but were 
disappointed. There was also a small hubbub in 
Boston on my arrival. The excitement passed away, 
but invective and calumny still followed me. By 
dint of some industry and much persuasion, I suc- 
ceeded in inducing the Abolitionists in New York to 
join our little band in Boston, in calling a national 
convention at Philadelphia. We met, and such a 
body of men, for zeal, firmness, integrity, benevo- 
lence, and moral greatness, the world has rarely seen in 
a single assembly. Inscribed upon a declaration which 
it was my exalted privilege to write, their names can 
perish only with the knowledge of the history of our 
times. A National Anti-Slavery Society was formed, 
which astonished the country by its novelty, and 



awed it by its boldness. In five months its first annual 
meeting was held in the identical city in which, only 
seven antecedent months, Abolitionists were in peril 
of their lives. In ability, interest, and solemnity it 
took precedence of all the great religious celebrations 
which took place at the same time. During the same 
month, a New England anti-slavery convention was 
held in Boston, and so judicious were its measures, 
so eloquent its appeals, so unequivocal its resolutions, 
that it at once gave shape and character to the anti- 
slavery cause in this section of the Union. In the 
midst of all these mighty movements, I have wooed 
"a fair ladye," and won her, have thrown aside 
celebacy, and jumped body and soul into matrimony, 
have sunk the character of bachelor in that of hus- 
band, have settled down into domestic quietude, and 
repudiated all my roving desires, and have found that 
which I have long been yearning to find, a home, a 
wife, and a beautiful retreat from a turbulent city." 

Garrison does not exaggerate the importance of 
the initiatives and achievements of the year, or the 
part played by him in its history. His activity was 
indeed phenomenal, and the service rendered by him 
to the reform, was unrivaled. He was in incessant 
motion, originating, directing, inspiring the agitation 
in all portions of the North. What strikes one 
strongly in studying the pioneer is his sleeplessness, 
his indefatigableness, his persistency in pursuit of his 
object. Others may rest after a labor, may have 
done one, two, or three distinct tasks, but between 
Garrison's acts there is no hiatus, each follows each, 
and is joined to all like links in a chain. He never 
closed his eyes, nor folded his arms, but went for- 



ward from work to work with the consecutiveness of 
a law of nature. 

But amid labors so strenuous and uninterrupted 
the leader found opportunity to woo and win " a fair 
ladye." She was a daughter of a veteran Abolitionist, 
George Benson, of Brooklyn, Conn., who with his 
sons George W. and Henry E. Benson, were among 
the stanchest of the reformer's followers and sup- 
porters. The young wife, before her marriage, was 
not less devoted to the cause than they. She was in 
closest sympathy with her husband's anti-slavery 
interests and purposes. Never had husband found wife 
better fitted to his needs, and the needs of his life 
work. So that it might be truly said that Garrison 
even when he went a- wooing forgot not his cause and 
that when he took a wife, he made at the same time 
a grand contribution to its ultimate triumph. 

How did Helen Eliza Garrison serve the great 
cause ? One who knew shall tell. He has told it in 
his own unequaled way. " That home," he says, "was 
a great help. Her husband's word and pen scattered 
his purpose far and wide ; but the comrades that his 
ideas brought to his side her welcome melted into 
friends. No matter how various and discordant they 
were in many things — no matter how much there was 
to bear and overlook — her patience and her thanks 
for their sympathy in the great idea were always suf- 
ficient for the work also. . . . In that group of remark- 
able men and women which the anti-slavery move- 
ment drew together, she had her own niche — which 
no one else could have filled so perfectly or uncon- 
sciously as she did. . . . She forgot, omitted nothing. 
How much we all owe her ! " These were words 


spoken by a friend, whose name will appear later on 
in this story; words spoken by him at the close of her 
beautiful life, as she lay dead in her coffin. 

And here is another account of her written by the 
husband on the first anniversary of their marriage : 
*' I did not marry her," he confides to her brother 
George, " expecting that she would assume a promi- 
nent station in the anti-slavery cause, but for domes- 
tic quietude and happiness. So completely absorbed 
am I in that cause, that it was undoubtedly wise in 
me to select as a partner one who, while her benevo- 
lent feelings were in union with mine, was less immed- 
iately and entirely connected with it. I knew she 
was naturally diffident, and distrustful of her own 
ability to do all that her heart might prompt. She is 
one of those who prefer to toil unseen — to give by 
stealth — and to sacrifice in seclusion. By her unwear- 
ied attention to my wants, her sympathetic regards, 
her perfect equanimity of mind, and her sweet and 
endearing manners ; she is no trifling support to 
Abolitionism, inasmuch as she lightens my labors, and 
enables me to find exquisite delight in the family cir- 
cle, as an offset to public adversity." 

And here is a lovely bit of self-revelation made to her 
betrothed several months before they were wedded. 
"I am aware of the responsibility that will devolve 
upon me," she writes, " and how much my example 
will be copied among that class you have so long 
labored to elevate and enlighten. I have been con- 
sidering how the colored people think of dress, and 
how much of their profits are expended for useless 
ornaments that foolishly tend to make a show and 
parade. As much stress will, of course, be laid on 



Garrison's wife by that class, it behooves me to be 
very circumspect in all things, when called upon to 
fill so important a station." 

The marriage occurred September 4, 1834, and the 
next day the pair set up housekeeping in " Freedom's 
Cottage," on Bower street, Roxbury. The young 
housekeepers were rich in every good thing except 
money; and of that commodity there was precious 
little that found its way into the family till. And 
money was indispensable even to a philanthropist, 
who cared as little for it as did Garrison. He had 
never in his twenty-eight years experienced the sensa- 
tion which a bank account, however small, gives its 
possessor. He had been toiling during the last three 
years in a state of chronic self-forgetfulness, and of 
consequence in a state of chronic inpecuniosity. He 
had never been careful of what he got — was careful 
only of what he gave. For himself he was ready to 
subsist on bread and water and to labor more than 
fourteen hours at the case to make the issue of the 
Liberator possible. But surely he could not put "a fair 
ladye " on such limited commons even for the sake of 
his cause. The laborer is worthy of his hire, and an 
unworldly minded reformer ought to be supplied with 
the wherewithal needful to feed, clothe, and house 
himself and those dependent upon him. Some such 
thought shaped itself in Garrison's mind as his cir- 
cumstances grew more and more straitened, and his 
future as the head of a family looked more and more 
ominous. Anxiety for the morrow pressed heavily 
upon him as his responsibilities as a breadwinner 
hugged closer and closer his everyday life. Poverty 
ceased to be the ordinary enemy of former years^ 


whom he from the lookouts of the unconquerable 
mind used to laugh to scorn ; it had become instead 
a cruel foe who worried as by fire the peace of his 

There was the Liberator ? The Liberator as a 
moral engine was a marvelous success ; but the 
Liberator as a money-maker was a most dismal fail- 
ure. If its owners had possessed only common apti- 
tude for business the failure need not have been so 
complete, indeed the enterprise might have been 
crowned with a moderate degree of success. But 
never were two men more entirely lacking in the 
methods, which should enter into ventures of that 
character, than were Garrison and Knapp. Garrison 
was unfortunate in this respect but it seems that 
Knapp was more so. Neither took to book-keeping, 
and neither overcame his serious deficiency in this 
regard. The consequence was that the books kept 
themselves, and confusion grew upon confusion until 
the partners were quite confounded. Garrison naively 
confesses this fault of the firm to his brother-in-law 
thus : " Brother Knapp, you know, resembles me 
very closely in his habits of procrastination. Indeed 
I think he is rather worse than I am in this respect ! " 

The paper was issued originally without a single 
subscriber. At the end of the first volume the sub- 
scription list numbered five hundred names. In the 
course of the next two volumes this number was 
more than doubled, almost tripled, in fact. The sub- 
scription price was two dollars. The property would 
have begun from this point to make returns to its 
owners had they possessed the business training and 
instinct requisite to its successful management. But 



they were reformers, not money-getters, and instead 
of enjoying the profits they proceeded to use them 
up incontinently in their first enlargement of the 
paper. But while they had added to the cost of 
publication, they took no thought to augment the 
cost of subscription. The publishers gave more and 
the subscribers received more for the sum of two 
dollars. The pecuniary embarrassments of the 
Liberator increased, and so the partners' " bondage to 
penury " increased also. This growing pressure was 
finally relieved by several generous donations," 
made for the support of the paper. At the beginning 
of the fourth volume, the publishers wisely or other- 
wisely, again enlarged their darling, and again neg- 
lected to raise the subscription rates at the same 

Misfortunes never come without company, but alight 
in flocks, and a whole flock of misfortunes it was to 
the Liberator when Joshua Coffin, that huge per- 
sonification of good humor," was appointed canvass- 
ing agent for the paper. He was as wanting in 
business methods as his employers were. Confusion 
now gathered upon confusion around the devoted 
heads of the partners, was accelerated and became 
daily more and more portentous and inextricable. 
The delinquencies of subscribers grew more and 
more grave. On the three first volumes they were 
two thousand dollars in arrears to the paper. This 
was a large, a disastrous loss, but traceable, to no 
inconsiderable extent, doubtless, to the loose busi- 
ness methods of the reformer and his partner. The 
Liberator at the beginning of its fourth year was 
struggling in a deep hole of financial helplessness 



and chaos. Woul(i it ever get out alive, or SHALL 
THE LIBERA TOR DIE ? " burst in a cry of anguish, 
almost despair, from its editor, so weak in thought of 
self, so supreme in thought of others. 

This carelessness of what appertained to the things 
which concerned self, and devotion to the things 
which concerned his cause, finds apt and pathetic 
illustration in this letter to Samuel J. May in the sum- 
mer of 1834, when his pecuniary embarrassments and 
burdens were never harder to carry : 

" In reply to your favor of the 24th [July], my 
partner joins with me in consenting to print an edi- 
tion of Miss Crandall's [defence] as large as the one 
proposed by you, at our own risk. As to the profits 
that may arise from the sale of the pamphlet, we do 
not expect to make any ; on the contrary, we shall 
probably suffer some loss, in consequence of the diffi- 
culty of disposing of any publication, however inter- 
esting or valuable in itself. But a trial so important 
as Miss C.'s, involving such momentous consequences 
to a large portion of our countrymen, implicating so 
deeply the character of this great nation, ought not to 
go unpublished, and shall not while we have the nec- 
essary materials for printing it." 

It is interesting to note that the weekly circu- 
lation of the Liberator y in the spring of 1834, was 
twenty-three hundred copies, and that this num- 
ber was distributed in Philadelphia, four hun- 
dred ; in New York, three hundred ; in Boston, 
two hundred ; in other parts of the free States 
eleven hundred ; and that of the remaining three hun- 
dred, one-half was sent as exchange with other papers, 
and eighty of the other half were divided equally 



between England and Hayti, leaving seventy copies 
for gratuitous distribution. The colored subscribers 
to the paper were to the whites as three to one. 

There were several suggestions by sundry friends 
looking to the release of the Liberator from its 
embarrassments, and, to the relief of its unselfish 
publishers, from the grinding poverty which its 
issue imposed upon them. The most hopeful 
and feasible of them was the scheme of which 
Garrison wrote his betrothed April 14, 1834: "I 
am happy to say," he pours into her ears, that it 
is probable the managers of the New England Anti- 
Slavery Society will determine, to-morrow afternoon, 
to take all the pecuniary liabilities of the Liberator 
hereafter, and give me a regular salary for editing it, 
and friend Knapp a fair price for printing it. My sal- 
ary will not be less than $800 per annum, and perhaps 
it will be fixed at a $1,000. . . . The new arrangement 
will go into effect on the ist of July." But alas ; the 
managers took no such action on the morrow, nor 
went the " new arrangement " into effect at the time 
anticipated. The editor was married in September, 
and two months later the eagerly expected relief was 
still delayed. This hope deferred must have caused 
the young husband meanwhile no little anxiety and 
heart sickness. 

Love in a cottage is very pretty and romantic in 
novels, but love in a cottage actually thriving on 
" bread and water," was a sweet reality in the home 
of the young couple in Roxbury. "All the world loves 
a lover," says Emerson, but alas! there are exceptions 
to all rules, and all the world loved not Garrison in 
.his newly found felicity as shall presently appear. 



The pledge made by the reformer in the initial 
number of the Liberator to be " as harsh as truth," 
had been kept to the letter. To some minds there is 
nothing more difficult to understand and tolerate 
than is the use of harsh language toward individual 
wrongdoers. They appear to be much more solici- 
tous to turn away the wrath of the wicked than to 
do away with their wickedness. Multitudes of such 
minds were offended at the tremendous severities of 
Garrison's speech. They were for peace at any cost, 
while Garrison was for truth at any cost. These pro- 
slavery critics were not necessarily wanting in good 
feelings to the slaves, or lacking in a sense of the 
justice of their cause. But the feelings and the sense 
were transitive to an abstract object, intransitive to 
that terrible reality, the American slave. The indig- 
nation of such people exceeded all bounds when con- 
templating wrongs in the abstract, iniquity in the 
abstract, while the genuine article in flesh and blood 
and habited in broadcloth and respectability provoked 
no indignation, provoked instead unbounded charity 
for the willing victims of ancestral transgressions. 
Upon the Southern slaveholder, as a creature of cir- 
cumstances, these people expended all their sympathy 
while upon the Southern slave, who were to their 
view the circu?nstances, they looked with increasing 
disapprobation. Garrison's harsh language greatly 
shocked this class — excited their unbounded indigna- 
tion against the reformer. 

Besides this class there was another, composed of 
friends, whom Garrison's denunciatory style offended. 
To Charles Follen and Charles Stuart, and Lewis 
Tappan, this characteristic of the writings of the 



great agitator was a sore trial. To them and to 
others, too, his language seemed grossly intemperate 
and vituperative, and was deemed productive of 
harm to the movement. But Garrison defended his 
harsh language by pointing to the state of the coun- 
try on the subject of slavery before he began to use 
it, and to the state of the country afterward. How 
utterly and morally dead the nation was before, how 
keenly and marvelously alive it became afterward. 
The blast which he had blown had jarred upon the 
senses of his slumbering countrymen he admitted, 
but he should not be blamed for that. What to his 
critics sounded harsh and abusive, was to him the 
trump of God. For, at the thunder-peal which the 
Almighty blew from the mouth of his servant, how, 
as by a miracle, the dead soul of the nation awoke to 
righteousness. He does not arrogate to himself in- 
fallibility, indeed he is sure that his language is not 
always happily chosen. Such errors, however, appear 
to him trivial, in view of indisputable and extraordi- 
nary results produced by the Liberator. He believes 
in marrying masculine truths to masculine words. 
He protests against his condemnation by compari- 
son. " Every writer's style is his own — it may be 
smooth or rough, plain or obscure, simple or grand, 
feeble or strong," he contends, " but principles are im- 
mutable." By his principles, therefore he would, be 
judged. Whittier, for instance,," he continues, '* is 
highly poetical, exuberant, and beautiful. Stuart is 
solemn, pungent, and severe. Wright is a thorough 
logician, dextrous, transparent, straightforward. 
Beriah Green is manly, eloquent, vigorous, devotional. 
May is persuasive, zealous, overflowing with the milk 



of human kindness. Cox is diffusive, sanguine, mag- 
nificent, grand. Bourne thunders and lightens. 
Phelps is one great, clear, infallible argument — 
demonstration itself. Jocelyn is full of heavenly- 
mindedness, and feels and speaks and acts with a 
zeal according to knowledge. Follen is chaste, pro- 
found, and elaborately polished. Goodell is per- 
ceptive, analytical, expert, and solid. Child (David 
L.) is generously indignant, courageous, and demon- 
strative ; his lady combines strength with beauty, 
argumentation with persuasiveness, greatness with 
humility. Birney is collected, courteous, dispas- 
sionate — his fearlessness excites admiration, his con- 
scientiousness commands respect." Of these writers, 
which is acceptable to slaveholders or their apolo- 
gists ? Some have been cruelly treated and all been 
calumniated as fanatics, disorganizers, and mad- 
men." And why? "Certainly not for the phrase- 
ology which they use, but for the principles which they 

From another quarter came presently notes of dis- 
cord, aroused by Garrison's hard language. Sundry 
of the Unitarian clergy, under the lead of Rev. Henry 
Ware, Jr., took it into their heads that the editor of 
the Liberator and some others were outrageously 
abusing the Abolition cause, mismanaging it by 
their unreasonable violence " of language. Where- 
fore those gentlemen interposed to rescue the great 
cause from harm by a brilliant scheme designed to 
secure moderation in this regard. This brilliant 
scheme was nothing less ubsurd than the establish- 
ment of a censorship over the Liberator. But as 
these solicitous souls had reckoned without their 


host, their amiable plan came to naught ; but not, 
however, before adding a new element to the univer- 
sal discord then fast swelling to a roar. To the 
storm of censure gathering about his head the re- 
former bowed not — neither swerved he to the right 
hand nor to the left — all the while deeming it, with 
the apostle, a small thing to be judged by man's 
judgment." " I solicit no man's praise," he sternly 
replies to his critics, "I fear no men's censure." 

There was still another cause of offence given by 
Garrison to his countrymen. It was not his hard lan- 
guage, but a circumstance less tolerable, if that was 
possible, than even that rock of offence. It seems 
that when the editor of the Liberator was in England, 
and dining with Thomas Fowell Buxton, he was asked 
by the latter in what way the English Abolitionists 
could best assist the anti-slavery movement in Amer- 
ica, and he had replied, By giving us George Thomp- 
Sony This unexpected answer of the American 
appeared without doubt to the Englishman at the 
time somewhat extraordinary. He had his misgivings 
as to the wisdom, to say nothing of the propriety, of 
an international act of such importance and delicacy 
as the sending of George Thompson to America. He 
questioned whether the national self-love of the 
American people would not resent the arrival of an 
Englishman on such a mission among them and 
refuse him a fair hearing in consequence. But Gar- 
rison was confident that while Thompson's advent 
would stir up the pro-slavery bile of the North and 
all that, he would not be put to much if any greater 
disadvantage as a foreigner in speaking in New Eng- 
land on the subject of slavery, than wert those Aboli- 



tionists who were to the manner born. As to his 
friend's personal safety in the East, Garrison was 
extremely optimistic, had not apparently the slightest 
apprehensions for him in this regard. 

Well, after due deliberation, George Thompson con- 
sented to undertake the mission to America, and the 
English reformers to send him, though not all of them. 
For some there were like James Cropper, who were 
indisposed to promoting such a mission, or " paying 
agents to travel in the United States." It was natural 
enough for Mr. Garrison to prefer such a request 
after hearing George Thompson speak. For he was 
one of those electric speakers, who do with popular 
audiences what they will. In figure and voice and 
action, he was a born orator. His eloquence was 
graphic, picturesque, thrilling, and over English 
audiences it was irresistible. Garrison fancied that 
such eloquence would prove equally attractive to and 
irresistible over American audiences as well. But in 
this he was somewhat mistaken, for Thompson had 
to deal with an element in American audiences of 
which he had had no experience in England. What 
that element was he had occasion to surmise directly 
he arrived upon these shores. He reached New 
York just sixteeen days after the marriage of his 
friend, the editor of the Liberator to be immediately 
threatened with mob violence by the metropolitan 
press in case he ventured to " lecture in favor of 
immediate Abolition," and to be warned that: " If our 
people will not suffer our own citizens to tamper with 
the question of slavery, it is not to be supposed that 
they will tolerate the officious intermeddling of a 
foreign fanatic." Then as if by way of giving him 



a taste of the beak and talons of the American amour 
propre, he and his family were put out of the Atlantic 
Hotel in deference to the wish of an irate Southerner. 

Thus introduced the English orator advanced speed- 
ily thereafter into closer acquaintance with the Amer- 
ican public. He lectured in many parts of New 
England where that new element of rowdyism and 
virulence of which his English audiences had given 
him no previous experience, manifested its presence 
first in one way and then in others, putting him 
again and again in jeopardy of life and limb. At 
Augusta, Maine, his windows were broken, and he 
was warned out of the town. At Concord, New 
Hampshire, his speech was punctuated with missiles. 
At Lowell, Massachusetts, he narrowly escaped being 
struck on the head and killed by a brickbat. Indeed 
it was grimly apparent that the master of Freedom's 
Cottage would be obliged to revise his views as to the 
hazard, which his friend ran in speaking upon the 
subject of slavery in New England. To do so was 
weekly becoming for that friend an enterprise of 
great personal peril. But it added also to the fierce 
hatred with which the public now regarded Garrison. 
He was the author of all the mischief, the slavery 
agitation, the foreign emissary. He had even dared to 
inject the poison of Abolitionism into the politics of 
Boston and Massachusetts. This attempt on the part 
of the Liberator to establish an anti-slavery test of 
office was only another proof of the dangerous char- 
acter of the new fanaticism and the Jacobinical 
designs of the Garrisonian fanatics, ergo, the impor- 
tance of suppressing the incendiaries. Down with 
Thompson ! Garrison must be destroyed ! The 



Union — it must and shall be preserved ! All these 
the public excitement, which had risen everywhere 
to a tempest, had come more and more to mean. A 
tremendous crisis had come in the life of Garrison, 
and a great peril, eagle-like, with the stirred-up hate 
of a nation, was swooping upon him. 



A WILD-CAT-LIKE creatufc was abroad. To it the 
Abolitionists were to be thrown. It was to destroy 
Garrison, make an end of Thompson, and suppress 
between its enormous jaws the grandest moral move- 
ment of the century. Besides doing up this modest 
little programme, the beast, O wonderful to say, was 
also to crown its performances by " saving " the 
Union. Rejoicing in the possession of such a con- 
servative institution, the politicians, the press, and 
public opinion uncaged the monster, while from 
secure seats they watched the frightful scenes of fury 
and destruction enacted by it in the national arena. 

These scenes began in the summer of 1834, and in 
the city of New York. They were ushered in by the 
breaking up of an anti-slavery celebration on the 
Fourth of July by the clack and roar of several hun- 
dred young rowdies, gathered for the purpose. Their 
success but whetted the appetite of the spirit of mis- 
chief for other ventures against the Abolitionists. As 
a consequence New York was in a more or less dis- 
turbed state from the fourth to the ninth of the 
month. The press of the city, with but a single ex- 
ception {The Evening Post) meanwhile goaded the 
populace on by false and inflammatory representa- 
tions touching the negroes and their friends, to the 




tioting which began in earnest on the evening of the 
ninth. That night a mob attacked Lewis Tappan's 
house on Rose street, breaking in the door, smashing 
blinds and windows, and playing havoc generally 
with the furniture. On the following evening the 
rioters assailed the store of Arthur Tappan, on Pearl 
street, demolishing almost every pane of glass in the 
front of the building. On the same evening the mob 
paid its respects to Rev. Dr. Cox, by breaking win- 
dows both at his house and at his church. The negro 
quarters in the neighborhood of Five Points, and 
their houses in other parts of the city, were raided on 
the night of the nth, and much damage done by the 
lawless hordes which for nearly a week wreaked their 
wrath upon the property of the negroes and their 
anti-slavery friends. 

After this brave beginning, the wild-cat-like spirit 
continued, these ferocious demonstrations in New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, 
Maine, and New Hampshire. The slavery agitation 
had increased apace. It had broken out in Congress 
on the presentation of anti-slavery petitions. The 
fire thus kindled spread through the country. South- 
ern excitement became intense, amounted almost to 
panic. The activity of the anti-slavery press, the 
stream of anti-slavery publications, which had, in- 
deed, increased with singular rapidity, was exagger- 
ated by the Southern imagination, struck it with a 
sort of terror. There were meetings held in many 
parts of the South, tremendous scenes enacted there. 
In Charleston, South Carolina, the post-office was 
broken open by an aristocratic mob, under the lead 
of the famous Robert Y. Hayne, and a bonfire made 



of the Abolition mail-matter which it contained. As 
this Southern excitement advanced, a passionate fear 
for the stability of the Union arose in the heart of 
the North. Abolition and the Abolitionists had pro- 
duced these sectional disturbances. Abolition and 
the Abolitionists were, therefore, enemies of the 
glorious Union." Northern excitement kept pace 
with Southern excitement until, in the summer of 
1835, a reign of terror was widely established over 
both sections. To Garrison, from his Liberator out- 
look, all seemed " Consternation and perplexity, for 
perilous times have come." They had, indeed, come 
in New York, as witness this from the pen of Lydia 
Maria Child, who was at the time (August 15) in 
Brooklyn. Says she: 

I have not ventured into the city, nor does one of 
us dare to go to church to-day, so great is the excite- 
ment here. You can form no conception of it. 'Tis 
like the time of the French Revolution, when no man 
dared trust his neighbor. Private assassins from 
New Orleans are lurking at the corners of the streets 
to stab Arthur Tappan, and very large sums are 
offered for any one who will convey Mr. Thompson 
into the slave States. . . . There are several 
thousand Southerners now in the city, and I am 
afraid there are not seven hundred among them who 
have the slightest fear of God before their eyes. Mr. 
Wright [Elizur] was yesterday barricading his doors 
and windows with strong bars and planks an inch 
thick. Violence in some form seems to be generally 

Great meetings to put the Abolitionists down af- 
forded vents during this memorable year to the pent- 



up excitement of the free States. New York had had 
its great meeting, and had put the Abolitionists down 
with pro-slavery resolutions and torrents of pro- 
slavery eloquence. Boston, too, had to have her 
great meeting and her cataracts of pro-slavery ora- 
tory to reassure the South of the sympathy and sup- 
port of the great body of the people of the Northern 
States." The toils seemed everywhere closing around 
the Abolitionists. The huge head of the asp of public 
opinion, the press of the land was everywhere busy, 
day and night, smearing with a thick and virulent 
saliva of lies the brave little band and its leader. 
Anti-slavery publications, calculated to inflame the 
minds of the slaves against their masters, and in- 
tended to instigate the slaves to servile insurrections, 
had been distributed broadcast through the South by 
the emissaries of anti-slavery societies. The Abolition- 
ists advocated the emancipation of the slaves in the 
South by Congress, intermarriages between the two 
races, the dissolution of the Union, etc. All of which 
outrageous misrepresentations were designed to ren- 
der the movement utterly odious to the public, and 
the public so much the more furious for its suppres- 

It was in the midst of such intense and widespread 
excitement that Boston called its meeting to abolish 
the Abolitionists. It was the month of August, and 
the heat of men's passions was as great as the heat 
of the August sun. The moral atmosphere of the 
city was so charged with inflammable gases that the 
slightest spark would have sufficed to produce an ex- 
plosion. The Abolitionists felt this and carried them- 
selves the while with unusual circumspection. They 



deemed it prudent to publish an address to neutralize 
the falsehoods with which they were assailed by their 
enemies. The address drawn up by Garrison for the 
purpose was thonght too fiery for the present time," 
by his more cautious followers and was rejected. The 
Liberator office had already been threatened in conse- 
quence of a fiery article by the editor, denouncing the 
use of Faneuil Hall for the approaching pro-slavery 
meeting. It seemed to the unawed and indignant 
champion of liberty that it were " better that the 
winds should scatter it in fragments over the whole 
earth — better that an earthquake should engulf it — 
than that it should be used for so unhallowed and 
detestable a purpose ! " The anti-abolition feeling of 
the town had become so bitter and intense that Henry 
E. Benson, then clerk in the anti-slavery office, writ- 
ing on the 19th of the month, believed that there were 
persons in Boston, who would assassinate George 
Thompson in broad daylight, and doubted whether 
Garrison or Samuel J. May would be safe in Faneuil 
Hall on the day of the meeting, and what seemed 
still more significant of the inflamed state of the pub- 
lic mind, was the confidence with which he predicted 
that a mob would follow the meeting. The wild-cat- 
like spirit was in the air — in the seething heart of the 

The meeting was held August 21st, in the old cradle 
of liberty. To its call alone fifteen hundred names 
were appended. It was a Boston audience both as to 
character and numbers, an altogether imposing affair, 
over whom the mayor of the city presided and before 
whom two of the most consummate orators of the 
commonwealth fulmined against the Abolitionists. 


One of their hearers, a young attorney of twenty-four, 
who listened to Peleg Sprague and Harrison Gray Otis 
that day, described sixteen years afterward the latter 
and the effects produced by him on that audience. 
Our young attorney vividly recalled how 'Abolition- 
ist ' was linked with contempt, in the silver tones of 
Otis, and all the charms that a divine eloquence and 
most felicitous diction could throw around a bad 
cause were given it ; the excited multitude seemed 
actually ready to leap up beneath the magic of his 
speech. It would be something, if one must die, to 
die by such a hand — a hand somewhat worthy and 
able to stifle anti-slavery, if it could be stifled. The 
orator was worthy of the gigantic task attempted ; 
and thousands crowded before him, every one of their 
hearts melted by that eloquence, beneath which Mas- 
sachusetts had bowed, not unworthily, for more than 
thirty years." 

Here is a specimen of the sort of goading which 
the wild-cat-like spirit of the city got from the ora- 
tors. It is taken from the speech of Peleg Sprague. 
The orator is paying his respects to George Thomp- 
son, an avowed emissary^'' " a professed agitator^'' 
who " comes here from the dark and corrupt institu- 
tions of Europe to enlighten us upon the rights of 
man and the moral duties of our own condition. 
Received by our hospitality, he stands here upon our 
soil, protected by our laws, and hurls firebrands, ar- 
rows, and death into the habitations of our neighbors 
and friends, and brothers ; and when he shall have 
kindled a conflagration which is sweeping in desola- 
tion over our land, he has only to embark for his own 
country, and there look serenely back with indiffer- 



ence or exultation upon the widespread ruin by which 
our cities are wrapt in flames, and our garments rolled 
in blood." 

The great meeting was soon a thing of the past but 
not so its effects. The echoes of Otis and Sprague did 
did not cease at its close. They thrilled in the air, 
they thrilled long afterward in the blood of the people. 
When the multitude dispersed Mischief went out into 
the streets of the city with them. Wherever after- 
ward they gathered Mischief made one in their midst. 
Mischief was let loose, Mischief was afoot in the town. 
The old town was no place for the foreign emissary, 
neither was it a safe place for the arch-agitator. On 
the day after the meeting, Garrison and his young 
wife accordingly retreated to her father's home at 
Brooklyn, Conn., where the husband needed not to be 
jostling elbows with Mistress Mischief, and her pals. 

Garrison's answer to the speeches of Otis and 
Sprague was in his sternest vein. He is sure after 
reading them that, " there is more guilt attaching to 
the people of the free States from the continuance of 
slavery, than those in the slave States." At least he 
is ready to affirm upon the authority of Orator 
Sprague, " that New England is as really a slave- 
holding section of the republic as Georgia or South 
Carolina." Sprague, he finds, 'Mn amicable compan- 
ionship and popular repute with thieves and adult- 
erers ; with slaveholders, slavedealers, and slave- 
destroyers ; . . . with the disturbers of the public 
peace ; with the robbers of the public mail ; with 
ruffians who insult, pollute, and lacerate helpless 
women ; and with conspirators against the lives and 
liberties of New England citizens." 



To Otis who was then nearl}^ seventy years of age 
Garrison addressed his rebuke in tones of singular 
solemnity. It seemed to him that the aged statesman 
had transgressed against liberty " under circum- 
stances of peculiar criminality." " Yet at this solemn 
period," the reprobation of the prophet ran, you 
have not scrupled, nay, you have been ambitious, to 
lead and address an excited multitude, in vindication 
of all imaginable wickedness, embodied in one great 
system of crime and blood — to pander to the lusts and 
desires of the robbers of God and his poor — to con- 
sign over to the tender mercies of cruel taskmasters, 
multitudes of guiltless men, women, and children — 
and to denounce as an 'unlawful and dangerous asso- 
ciation* a society whose only object is to bring this 
nation to repentance, through the truth as it is in 

These audacious and iconoclastic performances of 
the reformer were not exactly adapted to turn from 
him the wrath of the idol worshipers. They more 
likely added fuel to the hot anger burning in Boston 
against him. Three weeks passed after his departure 
from the city, and his friends did not deem it safe 
for him to return. Toward the end of the fourth 
week of his enforced absence, against which he was 
chafing not a little, an incident happened in Boston 
which warned him to let patience have its perfect 
work. It was on the night of September 17th that the 
dispositions of the city toward him found grim ex- 
pression in a gallows erected in front of his house at 
23 Brighton street. This ghastly reminder that the 
fellow-citizens of the editor of the Ztdera for continued 
to take a lively interest in him, " was made in real 



workmanship style, of maple joist five inches through, 
eight or nine feet high, for the accommodation of 
two persons." Garrison and Thompson were the two 
persons for whom these brave accommodations were 
prepared. But as neither they nor their friends were 
in a mood to have trial made of them, the intended 
occupants consenljd to give Boston a wide berth, and 
to be somewhat particular that they did not turn in 
with her while the homicidal fit lasted. 

This editing his paper at long range, and this 
thought of life and safety Garrison did not at all relish. 
They grew more and more irksome to his fearless 
and earnest spirit. For his was a " pine-and-fagot " 
Abolitionism that knew not the fear of men or their 
wrath. But now he must needs have a care for the 
peace of mind of his young wife, who was, within a 
few months, to give birth to a child. And her anxiety 
for him was very great. Neither was the anxiety of 
devoted friends and followers to be lightly disre- 
garded. All of which detained the leader in Brook- 
lyn until the 25th of the month, when the danger 
signals seemed to have disappeared. Whereupon he 
set out immediately for his post in Boston to be at the 
head of his forces. He found the city in one of those 
strange pauses of popular excitement, which might 
signify the ebb of the tide or only the retreat of the 
billows. He was not inclined to let the anti-Abolition 
agitation subside so soon, before it had carried on its 
flood Abolition principles to wider fields and more 
abundant harvests in the republic. Anxious lest the 
cat-like temper of the populace was falling into 
indifference and apathy, he and his disciples took 
occasion to prod it into renewed wakefulness and 



activity. The instruments used for this purpose were 
anti-slavery meetings and the sharp goad of his Lib- 
erator editorials. The city was possessed with the 
demon of slavery, and its foaming at the mouth was 
the best of all signs that the Abolition exorcism was 
working effectively. So, in between the glittering 
teeth and the terrible paws was thrust the madden- 
ing goad, and up sprang the mighty beast horrible to 

One of these meetings was the anniversary of the 
formation of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society 
which fell on October 14th. The ladies issued their 
notice, engaged a hall, and invited George Thompson 
to address them. Now the foreign emissary was 
particularly exasperating to Boston sensibility on 
the subject of slavery. He was the veritable red 
rag to the pro-slavery bull. The public announce- 
ment, therefore, that he was to speak in the city 
threw the public mind into violent agitation. The 
Gazette and the Courier augmented the excitement 
by the recklessness with which they denounced the 
proposed meeting, the former promising to Thomp- 
son a lynching, while the latter endeavored to 
involve his associates who were to the " manner 
born " in the popular outbreak, which was confi- 
dently predicted in case the foreign vagrant " 
wagged his tongue at the time appointed. 

Notwithstanding the rage of press and people 
the meeting was postponed through no willingness 
on the part of the ladies, but because of the panic 
of the owners of the hall lest their property should 
be damaged or destroyed in case of a riot. The 
ladies, thereupon, appointed three o'clock in the 



afternoon of October 21st as the time, and the hall 
adjoining the Anti-Slavery OfRce, at 46 Washington 
street, as the place where they would hold their 
adjourned meeting. This time they made no men- 
tion of Mr. Thompson's addressing them, merely 
announcing several addresses. In fact, an address 
from Mr. Thompson, in view of the squally outlook, 
was not deemed expedient. To provide against 
accidents and disasters, he left the city on the day 
before the meeting. But this his enemies did not 
know. They confidently expected that he was to 
be one of the speakers. An inflammatory handbill 
distributed on the streets at noon of the 21st seemed 
to leave no doubt of this circumstance in the pro- 
slavery portion of the city. 

The handbill referred to ran as follows: 


THE abolitionist!!! 

That infamous foreign scoundrel, THOMPSON, will hold 
forth this afternoon at the Liberator office, No. 48 Washing- 
ton street. The present is a fair opportunity for the friends of 
the Union to snake Thompson out ! It will be a contest be- 
tween the Abolitionists and the friends of the Union. A 
purse of $100 has been raised by a number of patriotic citizens 
to reward the individual who shall first lay violent hands on 
Thompson, so that he may be brought to the tar-kettle before 
dark. Friends of the Union, be vigilant ! 

Boston, Wednesday, 12 o clock. 

That Wednesday forenoon Garrison spent at the 
anti-slavery office, little dreaming of the peril which 
was to overtake him in that very spot in the after- 
noon. He went home to an early dinner, since his 
wife was a member of the society, and he himself was 



set down for an address. As he wended his way- 
homeward, Mischief and her gang were afoot dis- 
tributing the aforesaid handbills "in the insurance 
offices, the reading-rooms, all along State street, in 
the hotels, bar-rooms, etc.," and scattering it 
" among mechanics at the North End, who were 
mightily taken with it." Garrison returned about a 
half hour before the time appointed for the meeting. 
He found a small crowd of about a hundred indi- 
viduals collected in front of the building where the 
hall was situated, and on ascending to the hall more 
of the same sort, mostly young men, choking the 
access to it. They were noisy, and Garrison pushed 
his way through them with difficulty. As he entered 
the place of meeting and took his seat among the 
ladies, twenty had already arrived, the gang of young 
rowdies recognized him and evinced this by the 
exclamation : "That's Garrison ! " The full signifi- 
cance of the crowd just without the hall did not seem 
to have occurred to the man whom they had iden- 
tified. He did not know that they were the foam 
blown from the mouth of a great mob at the moment 
filling the streets in the neighborhood of the build- 
ing where he sat with such serenity of spirit. His 
wife who had followed him from their home saw 
what Garrison did not see. The crowd of a hundred 
had swelled to thousands. It lay in a huge. irregular 
cross, jammed in between the buildings on Washing- 
ton street, the head lowering in front of the anti- 
slavery office, the foot reaching to the site where 
stood Joy building, now occupied by the Rogers, 
the right arm stretching along Court street to the 
Court House, and the left encircling the old State 



House, City Hall and Post-office then, in a gigantic 
embrace. All hope of urging her way through that 
dense mass was abandoned by Mrs. Garrison, and a 
friend, Mr. John E. Fuller, escorted her to his home, 
where she passed the night. 

Meantime the atmosphere upstairs at the hall be- 
gan to betoken a fast approaching storm. The 
noises ominously increased on the landing just out- 
side. The door of the hall was swung wide open and 
the entrance filled with rioters. Garrison, all uncon- 
scious of danger, walked over to these persons and 
remonstrated in his grave way with them in regard 
to the disturbance which they were producing, winding 
up with a characteristic bit of pleasantry : " Gentle- 
men," said he, " perhaps you are not aware that this 
is a meeting of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery 
Society, called and intended exclusively for ladies^ 
and those only who have been invited to address 
them. Understanding this fact you will not be so 
rude and indecorous as to thrust your presence upon 
this meeting." But he added, " If, gentlemen^ any of 
you SiYQ ladies in disguise — why only apprise me of the 
fact, give me your names, and I will introduee you 
to the rest of your sex, and you can take seats among 
them accordingly." The power of benignity over 
malignity lasted a few moments after this little 
speech, when the situation changed rapidly from bad 
to worse. The tumult continually increased," says 
an eye-witness, " with horrible execrations, howling, 
stamping, and finally shrieking with rage. They 
seemed not to dare to enter, notwithstanding their 
fury, but mounted on each other's shoulders, so that 
a row of hostile heads appeared over the slight parti- 



tion, of half the height of the wall which divides 
the society's rooms from the landing place. We 
requested them to allow the door to be shut ; but 
they could not decide as to whether the request 
should be granted, and the door was opened and 
shut with violence, till it hung useless from its 

Garrison thinking that his absence might quiet 
these perturbed spirits and so enable the ladies to 
hold their meeting without further molestation volun- 
teered at this juncture to the president of the society 
to retire from the hall unless she desired him to 
remain. She did not wish him to stay but urged him 
to go at once not only for the peace of the meeting 
but for his own safety. Garrison thereupon left the 
haK meaning at the time to leave the building as well, 
but egress by the way of the landing and the stairs, 
he directly perceived was impossible, and did what 
seemed the next best thing, entered the anti-slavery 
office, separated from the hall by a board partition. 
Charles C. Burleigh accompanied him within this 
retreat. The door between the hall and the office was 
securely locked, and Garrison with that marvelous 
serenity of mind, which was a part of him, busied 
himself immediately with writing to a friend an 
account of the scenes which were enacting in the next 

The tempest had begun in the streets also. The 
mob from its five thousand throats were howling 
"Thompson ! Thompson ! " The mayor of the city, 
Theodore Lyman, appeared upon the scene, and 
announced to the gentlemen of property and stand- 
ing, who were thus exercising their vocal organs, that 



Mr. Thompson was not at the meeting, was not in the 
city. But the mayor was a modern Canute before the 
sea of human passion, which was rushing in over law 
and authority. He besought the rioters to disperse, 
but he might as well have besought the waves break- 
ing on Nastasket Beach to disperse. Higher, higher 
rose the voices ; fiercer, fiercer waxed the multitude; 
more and more frightful became the uproar. The 
long-pent-up excitement of the city and its hatred of 
Abolitionists had broken loose at last and the deluge 
had come. The mayor tossed upon the human inun- 
dation as a twig on a mountain stream, and with him 
for the nonce struggled helplessly the police power of 
the town also. 

Upstairs in the hall the society and its president 
are quite as powerless as the mayor and the police 
below. Miss Mary S. Parker, the president, is strug- 
gling with the customary opening exercises. She has 
called the meeting to order, read to the ladies some 
passages from the Bible, and has lifted up her voice 
in prayer to the All Wise and Merciful One " for direc- 
tion and succor, and the forgiveness of enemies and 
revilers." It is a wonderful scene, a marvelous 
example of Christian heroism, for in the midst of the 
hisses and threats and curses of the rioters, the prayer 
of the brave woman rose clear and untremulous. But 
now the rioters have thrown themselves against the 
partition between the landing-place and the hall. 
They are trying to break it down; now, they have 
partially succeeded. In another moment they have 
thrown themselves against the door of the office 
where Garrison is locked. The lower panel is dashed 
in. Through the opening they have caught sight of 



their object, Garrison, serenely writing at his desk. 
" There he is ! That's Garrison ! Out with the 
scoundrel ! " and other such words of recognition and 
execration, burst from one and another of the mob. 
The shattering of the partition, the noise of splitting 
and ripping boards, the sharp crash caused by the 
shivering of the office door, the loud and angry out- 
cries of the rioters warn the serene occupant of the 
office that his position has become one of extreme 
peril. But he does not become excited. His com- 
posure does not forsake him. Instead of attempting to 
escape, he simply turns to his friend, Burleigh, with 
the words, **You may as well open the door, and let 
them come in and do their worst." But fortunately, 
Burleigh was in no such extremely non-resistant 

The advent of the mayor and the constables upon 
the scene at this point rescued Garrison from imme- 
diately falling into the hands of the mob, who were 
cleared out of the hall and from the stairway. Now the 
voice of the mayor was heard urging th6 ladies to go 
home as it was dangerous to remain ; and now the voice 
of Maria Weston Chapman, replying : " If this is 
the last bulwark of freedom, we may as well die here 
as anywhere." The ladies finally decided to retire, 
and their exit diverted, while the operation lasted, the 
attention of the huge, cat-like creature from their 
object in the anti-slavery office. When the passing 
of the ladies had ceased, the old fury of the mob 
against Garrison returned. " Out with him!" " Lynch 
him!" rose in wild uproar from thousands in the 
streets. But again the attention of the huge, cat-like 
creature was diverted from its object in the second 



Story of the building before which it was lashing 
itself into frenzy. This time it was the anti-slavery 
sign which hung from the rooms of the society over 
the sidewalk. The mob had caught sight of it, and 
directly set up a yell for it. The sensation of utter 
helplessness in the presence of the multitude seemed 
at this juncture to return to the chief magistrate of 
the city. It was impossible to control the cataract- 
like passions of the rioters. He heard their awful 
roar for the sign. The din had risen to terrific pro- 
portions. The thought of what might happen next 
appalled him. The mob might begin to bombard the 
sign with brickbats, and from the sign pass to the 
building, and from the building to the constables, 
and then — but the mayor glanced not beyond, for he 
had determined to appease the fury of the mob by 
throwing down to it the hateful sign. A constable 
detached it, and hurled it down to the rioters in the 
street. But by the act the mayor had signified that 
the rule of law had collapsed, and the rule of the 
mob had really begun. When the rioters had wreaked 
their wrath upon the emblem of freedom, they were 
in the mood for more violence. The appetite for de- 
struction, it was seen, had not been glutted; only 
whetted. Garrison's situation was now extremely 
critical. He could no longer remain where he was, 
for the mob would invade the building and hunt him 
like hounds from cellar to garret. He must leave the 
building without delay. To escape from the front 
was out of the question. A way of escape must, 
therefore, be found in the rear. All of these consid- 
erations the mayor and Garrison's friends urged 
upon him. The good man fell in with this counsel, 



and, with a faithful friend, proceeded to the rear of 
the building, where from a window he dropped to a 
shed, but in doing so was very nearly precipitated to 
the ground. After picking himself up he passed into a 
carpenter's shop, meaning to let himself down into 
Wilson's Lane, now Devonshire street, but the 
myriad-eyed mob, which was searching every portion 
of the building for their game, espied him at this 
point, and with that set up a great shout. The work- 
men came to the aid of the fugitive by closing the 
door of the carpenter's shop in the face of his pur- 
suers. The situation seemed desperate. Retreat 
from the front was cut off; escape from the rear an- 
ticipated and foiled. Garrison perceived the futility 
of any further attempts to elude the mob, and pro- 
posed in his calm way to deliver himself up to them. 
But his faithful Achates, John Reid Campbell, advised 
him that it was his duty to avoid the mob as long as 
it was possible to do so. Garrison thereupon made 
a final effort to get away. He retreated up stairs, 
where his friend and a lad got him into a corner of 
the room and tried to conceal his whereabouts by 
piling some boards in front of him. But, by that 
time, the rioters had entered the building, and within 
a few moments had broken into the room where Gar- 
rison was in hiding. They found Mr. Reid, and de- 
manded of him where Garrison was. But Reid 
firmly refused to tell. They then led him to a win- 
dow, and exhibited him to the mob in the Lane, 
advising them that it was not Garrison, but Garri- 
son's and Thompson's friend, who knows where Gar- 
rison is, but refuses to tell. A shout of fierce exulta- 
tion from below greeted this announcement. Almost 



immediately afterward, Garrison was discovered and 
dragged furiously to the window, with the intention 
of hurling him thence to the pavement. Some of the 
rioters were for doing this, while others were for 
milder measures. " Don't let us kill him outright ! " 
they begged. So his persecutors relented, coiled a 
rope around his body instead, and bade him descend 
to the street. The great man was never greater 
than at that moment. With extraordinary meekness 
and benignity he saluted his enemies in the street. 
From the window he bowed to the multitude who 
were thirsting for his destruction, requesting them 
to wait patiently, for he was coming to them. Then 
he stepped intrepidly down the ladder raised for 
the purpose, and into the seething sea of human 

Garrison must now have been speedily torn to 
pieces had he not been quickly seized by two or three 
powerful men, who were determined to save him 
from falling into the hands of the mob. They 
were men of great muscular strength, but the muscular 
strength of two or three giants would have proven 
utterly unequal to the rescue, and this Mr. Garrison's 
deliverers evidently appreciated. For while they em- 
ployed their powerful arms, they also employed strat- 
agem as well to effect their purpose. They shouted 
anon as they fought their way through the excited 
throng, "He is an American! He shan't be hurt! " and 
other such words which divided the mind of the mob, 
arousing among some sympathy for the good man. 
By this means he was with difficulty got out of Wil- 
son's lane into State street, in the rear of the old State 
House. The champion was now on historic ground, 



ground consecrated by the blood of Crispus Attucks 
and his fellow-martyrs sixty-five years before. His 
hat was lost, much of his clothing was stripped from 
his body, he was without his customary glasses, and 
was therefore practically blind. He could hear the 
awful clamor, the mighty uproar of the mob, but he 
could not distinguish them one from another, friend 
from foe. Nevertheless he " walked with head erect, 
calm countenance flashing eyes like a martyr going 
to the stake, full of faith and manly hope" accord- 
ing to the testimony of an eye-witness. Garrison 
himself has thrown light on the state of his mind 
during the ordeal. " The promises of God," he after- 
ward remembered, sustained his soul, " so that it was 
not only divested of fear, but ready to sing aloud for 

The news now reached the ears of the mayor that 
Garrison was in the hands of the mob. Thereupon 
the feeble but kindly magistrate began to act afresh 
the role of the twig in the mountain stream. He and 
his constables struggled helplessly in the human cur- 
rent rushing and raging around City Hall, the head 
and seat of municipal law and authority. Without 
the aid of private citizens Garrison must inevitably 
have perished in the commotions which presently 
reached their climax in violence and terror. He was 
in the rear of City Hall when the mayor caught up 
to him and his would-be rescuers. The mayor per- 
ceived the extremity of the situation, and said to the 
Faneuil Hall giants who had hold of Garrison, "Take 
him into my office," which was altogether more easily 
said than done. For the rioters have raised the cry 

to the Frog Pond with him! " Which order will be 



carried out, that of the magistrate or that of the mob ? 

These were horrible moments while the two hung 
trembling in the balance. But other private citizens 
coming to the assistance of the mayor struck the 
scales for the moment in his favor, and Garrison was 
finally hustled, and thrust by main force into the 
south door of the City Hall and carried up to the 
mayor's room. But the mob had immediately effec- 
ted an entrance into the building through the north 
door and filled the lower hall. The mayor now 
addressed the pack, strove manfully in his feeble way 
to prevail upon the human wolves to observe order, 
to sustain the law and the honor of the city, he even 
intimated to them that he was ready to lay down his 
life on the spot to maintain the law and preserve 
order. Then he got out on the ledge over the south 
door and spoke in a similar strain to the mob on the 
street. But alas ! he knew not the secret for revers- 
ing the Circean spell by which gentlemen of property 
and standing in the community had been suddenly 
transformed into a wolfish rabble. 

The increasing tumult without soon warned the 
authorities that what advantage the mayor may have 
obtained in the contest with the mob was only tem- 
porary and that their position was momentarily becom- 
ing more perilous an^ less tenable. It was impos- 
sible to say to what extreme of violence a multitude 
so infuriated would not go to get their prey. It 
seemed to the now thoroughly alarmed mayor that 
the mob might in their frenzy attack the City Hall 
to effect their purpose. There was one building in 
the city, which the guardians of the law evidently 
agreed could resist the rage of the populace, and 



that building was the jail. To this last stronghold 
of Puritan civilization the authorities and the powers 
that were, fell back as a dernier resort to save Garri- 
son's life. But even in this utmost pitch and extrem- 
ity, when law was trampled in the streets, when 
authority was a reedi shaken in a storm, when 
anarchy had drowned order in the bosom of the 
town, the Anglo-Saxon passion for legal forms as- 
serted itself. The good man, hunted for his life, 
must forsooth be got into the only refuge which 
promised him security from his pursuers by a regular 
judicial commitment as a disturber of the peace. Is 
there anything at once so pathetic and farcical in the 
Universal history of mobs ? 

Pathetic and farcical to be sure, but it was also 
well meant, and therefore we will not stop to quarrel 
with men who were equal to the perpetration of a legal 
fiction so full of the comedy and tragedy of civilized 
society. But enough — the municipal wiseacres 
having put their heads together and evolved the bril- 
liant plan of committing the prophet as a disturber of 
the peace, immediately set about its execution, which 
developed in the sequence into a bird of altogether 
another color. For a more perilous and desperate 
device to preserve Garrison's life could not well 
have been hit upon. How was he ever to be got 
out of the building and through that sea of ferocious 
faces surging and foaming around it. First then by 
disguising his identity by sundry changes in his 
apparel. He obtained a pair of trousers from one 
kindly soul, another gave him a coat, a third lent him 
a stock, a fourth furnished him a cap. A hack was 
summoned and stationed at the south door, a posse 



of constables drew up and made an open way from 
the door to it. Another hack was placed in readiness 
at the north door. The hack at the south door was 
only a ruse to throw the mob off the scent of their 
prey, while he was got out of the north door and 
smuggled into the other hack. Up to this point, the 
plan worked well, but the instant after Garrison had 
been smuggled into the hack he was identified by the 
mob, and then ensued a scene which defies descrip- 
tion ; no writer however skillful, may hope to repro- 
duce it. The rioters rushed madly upon the vehicle 
with the cry: " Cut the traces ! Cut the reins ! " They 
flung themselves upon the horses, hung upon the 
wheels, dashed open the doors, the driver the while 
belaboring their heads right and left with a powerful 
whip, which he also laid vigorously on the backs of 
his horses. For a moment it looked as if a catastrophe 
was unavoidable, but the next saw the startled horses 
plunging at break-neck speed with the hack up Court 
street and the mob pursuing it with yells of baffled 
rage. Then began a thrilling, a tremendous race for 
life and Leverett street jail. The vehicle flew along 
Court street to Bodoin square, but the rioters, with 
fell purpose flew hardly less swiftly in its track. 
Indeed the pursuit of the pack was so close that the 
hackman did not dare to drive directly to the jail but 
reached it by a detour through Cambridge and Blos- 
som streets. Even then the mob pressed upon the 
heels of the horses as they drew up before the portals 
of the old prison, which shut not an instant too soon 
upon the editor of the Liberator^ who was saved from 
a frightful fate to use a Biblical phrase but by the 
skin of his teeth. 


Here the reformer safe from the wrath of his foes, 
was locked in a cell ; and here, during the evening, 
with no abatement of his customary cheerfulness and 
serenity of spirit, he received several of his anxious 
friends, Whittier among them, whom through the 
grated bars he playfully accosted thus : "You see my 
accommodations are so limited, that I cannot ask you 
to spend the night with me." That night in his 
prison cell, and on his rude prison bed, he slept the 
sleep of the just man, sweet and long : 

" When peace within the bosom reigns, 
And conscience gives th' approving voice; 
Though bound the human form in chains, 
Yet can the soul aloud rejoice. 

" 'Tis true, my footsteps are confined — 
I cannot range beyond this cell — 
But what can circumscribe my mind, 
To chain the winds attempt as well ! " 

The above stanzas he wrote the next morning on 
the walls of his cell. Besides this one he made two 
other inscriptions there, to stand as memorabilia of 
the black drama enacted in Boston on the afternoon 
of October 21, 1835. 

After being put through the solemn farce of an 
examination in a court, extemporized in the jail, Gar- 
rison was discharged from arrest as a disturber of the 
peace ! But the authorities, dreading a repetition of 
the scenes of the day before, prayed him to leave the 
city for a few days, which he did, a deputy sheriff 
driving him to Canton, where he boarded the train 
from Boston to Providence, containing his wife, and 
together they went thence to her father's at Brook- 



lyn, Conn. The apprehensions of the authorities in 
respect of the danger of a fresh attack upon him were 
unquestionably well founded, inasmuch as diligent 
search was made for him in all of the outgoing stages 
and cars from the city that morning. 

In this wise did pro-slavery, patriotic Boston trans- 
late into works her sympathy for the South. 



The results of the storm became immediately mani- 
fest in several ways. Such a commotion did not 
leave things in precisely the state in which they were 
on the morning of the memorable day on which it 
struck the city. The moral landscape and geography 
of the community had sensibly changed at its close. 
The full extent of the alteration wrought could not 
at once be seen, nor was it at once felt. But that 
there were deep and abiding changes made by it in 
the court of public opinion in Boston and Massachu- 
setts on the subject of slavery there is little doubt. 
It disgusted and alarmed many individuals who had 
hitherto acted in unison with the social, business, and 
political elements, which were at the bottom of the 
riot. Francis Jackson, for instance, had been one of 
the fifteen hundred signers of the call for the great 
Faneuil Hall meeting of the 21st of August. But on 
the afternoon of the 21st of 0(!:tober he threw his 
house open to the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Soci- 
ety, after its meeting had been broken up by the mob. 
It seemed to him then that it was no longer a mere 
struggle for the freedom of the slave, but for the right 
of free speech and free discussion as well. Dr. Henry 
I. Bowditch, a young man, in 1835, eminent professor 
and physician subsequently, dates from that after- 
noon of xnob violence his conversion to Abolitionism. 




In that selfsame hour seeds of resistance to slavery 
were sown in two minds of the first order in the city 
and State. Wendell Phillips was a spectator in 
the streets that day, and the father of Charles Sum- 
ner, the sheriff at the time, fought bravely to save 
Garrison from falling into the hands of the mob. 
The great riot gave those young men their first 
summons to enter the service of freedom. It was 
not long afterward probably that they both began 
to read the Liberator. From that event many intelli- 
gent and conservative people associated slavery with 
lynch law and outrage upon the rights of free speech 
and popular assembly. 

This anti-slavery reaction of the community re- 
ceived practical demonstration in the immediate 
increase of subscribers to the Liberator. Twelve new 
names were added to the subscription list in one day. 
It received significant illustration also in Garrison's 
nomination to the legislature. In this way did be- 
tween seventy and eighty citizens testify their sym- 
pathy for him and their reprobation of mob rule. In 
yet another way was its influence felt, and this was 
in the renewed zeal and activity which it instantly 
produced on the part of the Abolitionists themselves. 
It operated upon the movement as a powerful stimu- 
lus to fresh sacrifices and unwearied exertions. 
George W. Benson, Garrison's brother-in-law, led off 
bravely in this respect, as the following extract from 
a letter written by him in Boston, two days after the 
riot, to Garrison, at Brooklyn, well illustrates. He 
had come up to the city from Providence the night 
before, in quest of his sister and her husband. Not 
finding them, he turned to the cause which had been 



so ruthlessly attacked, and this is the sort of care 
which he bestowed upon it. He got Burleigh to 
write a general relation of the mob for publication in 
the Liberator^ and Whittier to indite another, with an 
appeal to the public, the same to be published im- 
mediately, and of which he ordered three thousand 
copies for himself. 

" I further ordered," he writes, " one thousand 
copies of A. Grimke's letter, with your introductory 
remarks, and your address published in the Liberator 
several weeks since, with your name appended, and 
Whittier's poetry on the times, in a pamphlet form. 
I urged all our friends to redouble their exertions. 
They seemed well disposed to accept the advice, as 
nothing will now avail but thorough measures. Lib- 
erty or Death ! " 

This is a fair specimen of the indomitable, indefati- 
gable spirit which was born of the attempt to put 
Abolitionism down by lawlessness and violence. In- 
deed, the Broad-Cloth Mob," viewed in the light of 
the important consequences which followed it, was 
equal to a hundred anti-slavery meetings, or a dozen 
issues of the Liberator. 

It is a curious and remarkable circumstance that, 
on the very day of the Boston mob, there occurred 
one in Utica, N. Y., which was followed hy 
somewhat similar results. An anti-slavery conven- 
tion was attacked and broken up by a mob of " gen- 
tlemen of property and standing in the community," 
under the active leadership of a member of Congress. 
Here there was an apparent defeat for the Abolition- 
ists, but the consequences which followed the outrage 
proved it a blessing in disguise. For the cause made 



many gains thereby, and conspicuously among them 
was Gerrit Smith, ever afterward one of its most elo- 
quent and munificent supporters. If anti-slavery meet- 
ings made converts by tens, anti-slavery mobs made 
them by hundreds. The enemies of freedom builded 
better than they knew or intended, and Garrison had 
the weightiest of reasons for feeling thankful to them 
for the involuntary, yet vast aid and comfort which 
their pro-slavery virulence and violence were bringing 
him and the anti-slavery movement throughout the 
free States. Example: in 1835-36, the great mob year, 
as many as three hundred and twenty-eight societies 
were organized in the North for the immediate aboli- 
tion of slavery. 

The mob did likewise help towards a satisfactory 
solution of the riddle propounded by Garrison : 
"Shall the Liberator die ? " The fresh access of anti- 
slavery strength, both in respect of zeal and num- 
bers, begotten by it, exerted no slight influence on 
the longevity of the Liberator. Poor the paper con- 
tinued, and embarrassed the editor for many a month 
thereafter, but as an anti-slavery instrument its sur- 
vival may be said from that proceeding to have be- 
come a necessity. To allow the Liberator to die at 
this juncture would have been such a confession of 
having been put down, such an ignominious surren- 
der to the mobocrats as the Abolitionists of Boston 
would have scorned to make. " I trust," wrote 
Samuel E. Sewall, " there will not be even one week's 
interruption in the publication of the Liberator*' Ex 
uno disce omnes. He but voiced the sentiment of the 
editor's disciples and associates in the city, in the 
State, and in New England as well, 


Besides these larger consequences there were others 
of a more personal and less welcome character. 
The individual suffers but the cause goes for- 
ward. Property-holders in Boston after the riot 
were not at all disposed to incur the risk of rent- 
ing property to such disturbers of the peace 
as Garrison and the Liberator. The owner of 
his home on Brighton street was thrown into such 
alarm for the safety of his property, if Garrison con- 
tinued to occupy it, that he requested the cancella- 
tion of the lease and the vacation of the premises. 
Garrison and his friends, all things considered, 
decided that it was the part of wisdom to accede to 
the request — although this breaking up of his home 
was a sore trial to the young husband in more ways 
than one. 

The landlord of the building where was located 
the Liberator office promptly notified the publishers 
to remove the paper not many mornings after the 
mob. This was particularly hard luck, inasmuch 
as the most dilligent quest for another local habita- 
tion for the paper, failed of success. No one was 
'willing to imperil his property by letting a part of 
it to such a popularly odious enterprise. So that 
not only had the household furniture of the editor to 
be stored, but the office effects of the paper as well. 
The inextinguishable pluck and zeal of Garrison and 
his Boston coadjutors never showed to better advan- 
tage than when without a place to print the Liberator^ 
the paper was " set up in driblets " in other offices at 
extraordinary expense, and sent out week after week 
to tell the tale of the mob, and to preach with undi- 
minished power the gospel of universal emancipation. 



But more afiflictive to the feelings of the reformei 
than the loss of his home, or that of the office of the 
Liberator^ was the loss of his friend, George Thomp- 
son. It seemed to him when the English orator 
departed that **the paragon of modern eloquence," 
and "the benefactor of two nations," had left these 
shores. Garrison's grief was as poignant as his 
humiliation was painful. George Thompson had 
come hither only as a friend of America, and 
America had pursued him with the most relentless 
malice. The greatest precautions were taken after 
the Broadcloth Mob " to ensure his safety. The 
place of his concealment was kept a secret and com- 
mitted only to a few tried friends. There is no 
doubt that had these precautions not been observed 
and his hiding place been discovered by the ruffians 
of the city, his life would have been attempted. In- 
deed it is almost as certain that had he ventured to 
show himself in public he would have been murdered 
in broad daylight in any of the large towns and cities 
of Massachusetts. His mission was clearly at an 
end unless he was determined to invite martyrdom. 
In these circumstances there was nothing to do but 
to smuggle him out of the country at the first oppor- 
tunity. On Sunday, November 8, the anxiously 
looked-for moment came when George Thompson 
was put upon a packet, in which he sailed for St. 
Johns, New Brunswick, whence he subsequently took 
passage for England. Garrison was inconsolable. 
" Who now shall go forth to argue our cause in pub- 
lic," he sadly asked, " with subtle sophists and inso- 
lent scoffers ? " little dreaming that there was then 
approaching him out of the all-hail hereafter a 


greater in these identical respects than George 
Thompson, indisputably great as he was. 

It was a blessed refuge to Garrison, the Benson 
homestead of Brooklyn, termed Friendship's Valley. 
Hunted as a partridge by his enemies here he found the 
quiet, and sympathy, and the right royal welcome and 
affection for which his heart panted amidst the dust, 
and din, and dangers of the crusade against slavery. 
But grateful as were the domestic sweets of Friend- 
ship's Valley, his was altogether too militant and 
masterful a spirit to yield himself without a struggle 
to the repose which it offered. He did not at all 
relish the idea of being a forced exile from Boston, 
of being obliged to edit the Liberator at such long 
range. But his friends urged him to submit to the 
one, and do the other, both on grounds of economy 
and common prudence. He was almost super- 
anxious lest it be said that the fear of the mob drove 
him out of Boston, and that the fear of it kept him 
out. This super-anxiety in that regard his friends to a 
certain degree shared with him. It was a phase of 
Abolition grit. Danger attracted this new species of 
reformers as a magnet draws iron. Instead of run- 
ning away from it, they were, with one accord, for- 
ever rushing into it. And the leader in Brooklyn 
was for rushing back to Boston, where, if one chanced 
to sow the wind in the morning, he might be mor- 
ally certain of reaping the whirlwind in the after- 

Two weeks after he had been secretly conveyed to 
Canton by Deputy Sheriff Parkman, being the day of 
his discharge from Leverett street jail, he was back 
again in Boston. The popular excitement had sub- 


sided. He showed himself freely in the streets and 
was nowhere molested. One day, however, while at 
the anti-slavery office on Washington street, he wit- 
nessed what was perhaps a final manifestation of the 
cat-like spirit of the great mob. A procession passed 
by with band and music, bearing aloft a large board 
on which were represented George Thompson and a 
black woman with this significant allusion to the riot, 
made as if addressed to himself by his dusky com- 
panion in disgrace : " When are we going to have 
another meeting, Brother Thompson ?" The cat-like 
creature had lapsed into a playful mood, but its play- 
fulness would have quickly given place to an alto- 
gether different fit did it but know that Garrison was 
watching it from the window of the very room where 
a few weeks before he had nearly fallen into its 

Garrison remained in Boston two weeks, going 
about the city, wherever and whenever business or 
duty called him in a perfectly fearless way. He left 
on the afternoon of November i8th. On that same 
afternoon the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society 
held a memorable meeting at the house of Francis 
Jackson. It was then that Harriet Martineau, another 
foreign emissary, avowed her entire agreement with 
the principles of the Abolitionists, which subjected 
her to social ostracism, and to unlimited abuse from 
the pro-slavery press of the city. 

The new hatred of slavery which the mob had 
aroused in Boston found heroic expression in a letter 
of Francis Jackson's replying to a vote of thanks of 
the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society to him for 
his hospitality to the ladies after their meeting was 



broken up by the mob. Mr. Jackson in his answer 
points with emphasis to the fact that his hospitality- 
had a double aim, one was the accommodation of the 
ladies, the other the preservation of the right of free 
discussion. In his regard a foundation principle of 
free institutions had been assailed. Happily," he 
shrewdly observed, one point seems already to be 
gaining universal assent, that slavery cannot long 
survive free discussion. Hence the efforts of the friends, 
and apologists of slavery to break down this right. 
And hence the immense stake which the enemies of 
slavery hold, in behalf of freedom and mankind, in 
its preservation. The contest is, therefore, substan- 
tially between liberty and slavery. 

"As slavery cannot exist with free discussion, so 
neither can liberty breathe without it. Losing this, 
we, too, shall be no longer free men indeed, but little, 
if at all, superior to the millions we now seek to 
emancipate." This apprehension and spirit of resist- 
ance, voiced by Francis Jackson, was Garrison's new 
ally, which, phoenix-like, was born out of the ashes 
of that terrific attempt of his enemies to effect his 
destruction, known as the " Broad-Cloth Mob." 



Having made trial of the strong arm of the mob as , 
an instrument for putting down the Abolitionists, and 
been quite confounded by its unexpected energy and 
unmanageableness, Boston was well disposed to lay 
the weapon aside as much too dangerous for use. For 
the wild-cat-like creature might take it into its head, 
when once it had got a taste of blood, to suppress 
some other isms in the community besides Aboli- 
tionism. No, no, the gentlemen of property and 
standing in the community had too much at stake to 
expose their property and their persons to the perils 
of any further experiments in that direction, even for 
the sake of expressing their sympathy for their dear 
brethren in the South, or of saving the dear Union 
into the bargain. Another method more in accord 
with the genius of their high state of civilization, they 
opined, might be invented to put the agitation and the 
agitators of the slavery question down. The politi- 
cians thereupon proceeded to make this perfectly 
wonderful invention. Not the strong arm of the mob, 
quoth these wiseacres, but the strong arm of the law 
it shall be. And the strong arm of the law they 
forthwith determined to make it. 

Massachusetts was hearkening with a sort of fascin- 
ation to the song of the slave syren. And no wonder. 


For the song of the slave syren was swelling and 
clashing the while with passionate and imperious 
energy. South Carolina had led off in this kind of 
music. In December following the Boston mob Gov- 
ernor McDuffie, pitched the key of the Southern con- 
cert in his message to the legislature descriptive of 
anti-slavery publications, and denunciatory of the 
anti-slavery agitation. The Abolitionists were, to his 
mind, enemies of the human race,'' and the move- 
ment for immediate emancipation ought to be made 
a felony punishable by death without benefit of 
clergy." He boldly denied that slavery was a politi- 
cal evil, and vaunted it instead as " f/ie corner stone of 
our republican edifice,^' The legislature upon the 
receipt of this extraordinary message proceeded to 
demand of the free States the suppression, by effective 
legislation, of anti-slavery societies and their incend- 
iary publications. The burden of this demand was 
directly caught up by North Carolina, Alabama, Vir- 
ginia, and Georgia. But there were some things 
which even a pro-slavery North could not do to oblige 
the South. Neither party, much as both desired it, 
dared to undertake the violation by law of the great 
right of free speech and of the freedom of the press. 
Not so, however, was it with sundry party leaders, 
notably the governors of New York and Massachu- 
setts, who were for trying the strong arm of the law 
as an instrument for suppressing Abolitionism. 
Edward Everett was so affected by the increasing 
Southern excitement and his fears for the safety of 
the dear Union that he must needs deliver himself in 
his annual message upon the Abolition agitation. He 
was of the opinion that the Abolitionists were guilty 



of an offence against Massachusetts which might be 
prosecuted as a misdemeanor at common law." He 
evidently did not consider that in the then present 
state of political parties and of public opinion any 
repressive legislation upon the subject could be got 
through the legislature, and hence the immense util- 
ity of the old machinery of the common law, as an 
instrument for putting down the agitation. But in 
order to get this machinery into operation, careful 
preparation was necessary. Proof must not be want- 
ing as to the dangerous and unpatriotic character and 
tendency of the movement to be repressed. There 
should be the most authoritative utterance upon this 
point to warrant the effective intervention of the 
Courts and Grand Juries of the commonwealth in the 
prosecution of the Abolitionists, as disturbers of the 
peace. Ergo the Governor's deliverance in his annual 
message against them. Now, if the legislature could 
be brought to deliver itself in tones not less certain, 
the third coordinate branch of the State government 
might catch its cue and act with energy in suppress- 
ing the disturbers of the peace of the commonwealth 
and of the dear Union as well. This was the scheme, 
the conspiracy which was in a state of incubation in 
Massachusetts in the year 1836. The pro-slavery por- 
tion of Governor Everett's message, together with the 
Southern demands for repressive legislation against 
the Abolitionists were referred to a joint legislative 
committee for consideration and report. The chair- 
man of the committee was George Lunt, of Newbury- 
port, a bitter pro-slavery politician, who saw no sign, 
received no light which did not come out of the 


The Abolitionists perceived the gravity of the new 
danger which threatened them, and rallied promptly 
to avert it. They shrewdly guessed that the object 
of the committee would not be the enactment of any 
new law against themselves but the adoption of con- 
demnatory resolutions instead. This course they 
rightly dreaded more than the other, and to defeat it 
the managers of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Soci- 
ety requested a public hearing of the committee, 
which was granted. On March 4th Garrison and 
many of the anti-slavery leaders appeared before the 
committee, with a carefully planned programme of 
procedure. To each of the selected speakers was 
assigned a distinct phase of the great subject of dis- 
cussion before the committee. Samuel J. May was 
appointed to open with an exposition of the anti- 
slavery movement and of the object and motives of 
its founders; Garrison to follow with an exhibition 
of the pacific character of the agitation as contained 
in official publications whereby forgiveness, submis- 
sion, and non-resistance were steadily inculcated; 
Ellis Gray Loring was next to demonstrate the per- 
fectly constitutional character of the agitation. The 
Abolitionists had in no wise contravened the National 
or the State Constitution, either in letter or spirit, and 
so on through the programme. It was thus that the 
Abolitionists dexterously killed two birds with one 
stone; for, at the same time that they made their 
defence before the committeee, they managed to pre- 
sent their cause to the attention of the public as well. 
Appearing before the committee to prevent hostile 
action on the part of the legislature against their 
movement, they skillfully turned the occasion into 



the most notable meeting for agitating the subject of 
slavery in the State during the year. 

The pro-slavery malignity of the chairman helped 
not a little to bring this result to pass. He again 
and again interrupted the speakers with the 
greatest insolence of behavior. Garrison, for a won- 
der, was allowed to finish his remarks without inter- 
ruption. Here is a specimen of the way in which 
Paul addressed himself to King Agrippa's master — 
public opinion : 

" Sir," spoke he to the committee, " we loudly boast 
of our free country, and of the union of these States, 
yet I have no country ! As a New Englander and as 
an Abolitionist I am excluded by a bloody proscrip- 
tion from one-half of the national territory, and so is 
every man who is known to regard slavery with ab- 
horrence. Where is our Union ? . . . The right 
of free and safe locomotion from one part of the land 
to the other is denied to us, except on peril of our 
lives. . . . Therefore it is, I assert, that the Union 
is now virtually dissolved. . . . Look at McDuf- 
fie's sanguinary message ! Read Calhoun's Report 
to the U. S. Senate, authorizing every postmaster in 
the South to plunder the mail of such Northern let- 
ters or newspapers as he may choose to think incendi- 
ary ! Sir, the alternative presented to the people of 
New England is this : they must either submit to be 
gagged and fettered by Southern taskmasters, or 
labor unceasingly for the removal of slavery from 
our country." 

This was a capital stroke, a bold and brilliant 
adaptation of the history of the times to the advance- 
ment of the anti-slavery movement in New England. 


Missing Garrison, the anger of the chairman fell upon 
Goodell and Prof. Follen, like a tiger's whelp. Pol- 
len was remarking upon the Faneuil Hall meeting, 
how it had rendered the Abolitionists odious in Bos- 
ton, and how, in consequence, the mob had followed 
the meeting. 

Now, gentlemen," the great scholar continued, 
" may we most reasonably anticipate that similar 
consequences would follow the expression by the 
legislature of a similar condemnation ? Would not 
the mob again undertake to execute the informal 
sentence of the General Court ? Would it not let 
loose again its bloodhounds upon us ?" 

At this point Mr. Lunt peremptorily stopped the 
speaker, exclaiming : 

Stop, sir ! You may not pursue this course of 
remark. It is insulting to this committee and the 
legislature which they represent." 

The Abolitionists, after this insult, determined to 
withdraw from the hearing, and appeal to the legis- 
lature to be heard, not as a favor but of right. A 
new hearing was, therefore, ordered, and the reform- 
ers appeared a second time before the committee. 
But the scenes of the first were repeated at the second 
hearing. The chairman was intolerably insolent to 
the speakers. His violent behavior to William Good- 
ell, who was paying his respects to the Southern 
documents lying on the table of the committee, ter- 
minated the second hearing. These documents Mr. 
Goodell described as fetters for Northern freemen, 
and boldly interrogated the chairman in respect of 
them thus : 

" Mr. Chairman, are you prepared to attempt putting 



them on ? " But the chairman was in no mood to 
listen to the question. His insolence reached a cli- 
max as he exclaimed passionately to Mr. Goodell, 
" Stop, sir ! Sit down, sir ! The committee will hear 
no more of this." But the temper of the Abolitionists 
had risen also, as had also risen the temper of the great 
audience of citizens who were present at the hearing 
which was had in the hall of the House of Represen- 
tatives. " Freemen we came," retorted Goodell, " and 
as freemen we shall go away." Scarcely had these 
words died upon the ears when there rose sharply 
from the auditory, the stern protest " Let us go 
quickly, lest we be made slaves." 

The attempt to suppress the Abolitionists was a 
failure. It but stimulated the agitation and deepened 
the popular interest in the subject. Strong allies 
within and without the legislature were enlisted on 
the side of freedom. The turning of the tide of pub- 
lic sentiment in the grand old State had come. Slowly 
did it rise for awhile, but from that event it never 
ceased to flow in and with increasing volume. The 
condemnatory report of the insolent chairman proved 
as innocuous as the baying of dogs at the moon. The 
legislature refused to indorse it and the pro-slavery 
resolutions attached to it. They were both ignomin- 
iously laid upon the table, and what is more to the 
purpose as a straw to show the drift of popular 
opinion on the slavery question in Massachusetts, 
their author failed of a renomination as Senator at the 
hands of hit dissatisfied constituents. 

The conflic was raging not alone in Massachu- 
setts but all through the free States. In Congress 
the battle was assuming an intensely bitter character. 


Here the South was the agitator. Here she kept the 
political waters in a state of violent ebullition. As 
the discord grew, sectionalism threw darkening and 
portentous shadows over the face of the Union. 
The South was insisting in all stages of passion that 
the tide of Abolition be checked in the North, that 
the flood of incendiary publications be suppressed at 
their sources in the free States. The Southern slave- 
holding President had suggested the suppression of 
these by Congress. He would " prohibit, under 
severe penalties, the circulation in the Southern 
States, through the mail, of incendiary publications 
intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection." But 
when Webster and a few Northern leaders objected 
to such a proceeding as unconstitutional and in 
derogation of the freedom of the press, the South 
treated the objection as inimical to Southern interest 
and security. Thereupon the Southern excitement 
increased all the fasten The slave-power was not 
disposed to accept anything short of complete sub- 
mission on the part of the North. And this the 
North could not well yield. While the slave-holding 
States were clamoring for the suppression of Aboli- 
tionism in the free States, Abolitionism was giving 
evidences of extraordinary expansion, and activity. 
It had risen well above the zero point in politics. It 
was gaining numbers and it was gaining votes. A 
new element had appeared at the polls and both of 
the old parties began to exhibit a certain degree of 
impressibility to the latest attraction. The slave- 
power with quick instinct recognized in the new 
comer a dangerous rival, and schemed for its destruc- 
tion. Southern jealousy took on the character of 


insanity. Neither Northern Whigs nor Northern 
Democrats were permitted to show any regard for 
the rival. They were to snub and utterly abolish 
her, otherwise they should be snubbed and utterly 
abolished by the slave-power. They could not with 
impunity give to Abolitionism the scantiest attention 
or courtesy. Not even a gallant like John Quincy 
Adams, who was able to see nothing attractive in the 
little band of reformers. They seemed to him, in 
fact, " a small, shallow, and enthusiastic party preach- 
ing the abolition of slavery upon the principles of 
extreme democracy." If Mr. Adams had little love 
for the South, he had none whatever for the Aboli- 
tionists. By no stretch of the imagination could he 
have been suspected of any sentimental attachment 
to the Abolition movement. For his unvarying atti- 
tude towards it was one of grim contempt. But if 
the old Roman had no love for the Abolitionists, he 
did have a deep-seated attachment and reverence for 
certain ancient rights appertaining to free institu- 
tions, which nothing was able to shake. Among 
these was the great right of petition, viewed by the 
ex-President as a right of human nature. For a 
dozen years he stood in Congress its sleepless senti- 
nel. And herein did he perform for freedom most 
valiant service. It made no difference to the daunt- 
less old man whether he approved of the prayer of a 
petition or not, if it was sent to him he presented it 
to the House all the same. He presented petitions 
for the abolition of slavery in the District of Colum- 
bia, and one, at least, against it, petitions from black 
and white, bond and free, with superb fidelity to the 
precious right which he championed. 


This characteristic of the aged statesman kept the 
Southern members in a state of chronic apprehension 
and excitement. They bullied him, they raged like 
so many wild animals against him, they attempted to 
crush him with votes of censure and expulsion all to 
no purpose. Then they applied the gag : " That all 
petitions, memorials, and papers touching the aboli- 
tion of slavery, or the buying, selling, or transferring 
slaves, in any State, or district, or territory of the 
United States, be laid on the table without being 
debated, printed, read, or referred, and that no action 
be taken thereon." Mr. Adam's denunciation of this 
action as a violation of the Constitution, of the right 
of the people to petition, and of the right to freedom 
of speech in Congress, found wide echo through the 
North. The violence, intolerence. and tyranny of the 
South were disgusting many of the most intelligent 
and influential minds in the non-slave-holding States, 
and driving them into more or less close affiliation 
with the anti-slavery movement. 

And so it was wherever one turned there were con- 
flict and uproar. Everywhere contrary ideas, inter- 
ests, institutions, tendencies, were colliding with 
inextinguishable rage. All the opposites and irrecon- 
cilables in a people's life had risen and clashed 
together in a death struggle for mastery. Freedom 
and slavery, civilization and barbarism had found an 
Armageddon in the moral consciousness of the 
Republic. Now the combatants rallied and the bat- 
tle thickened at one point, now around another. At 
Washington the tide rolls in with resounding fury 
about the right of petition and the freedom of debate, 
then through the free States it surges and beats 


around the right of free speech and the freedom of 
the press. Storm clouds are flying from the East and 
from the West, flying out of the North and out of the 
South. Everywhere the chaos of the winds has 
burst, and the anarchy of the " live thunder." 

Benton with his customary optimism from a South- 
ern standpoint, rejoiced in the year 1836 that the 
people of the Northern States had " chased off the 
foreign emissaries, silenced the gabbling tongues of 
female dupes, and dispersed the assemblies, whether 
fanatical, visionary, or incendiary, of all that congre- 
gated to preach against evils that afflicted others, not 
them, and to propose remedies to aggravate the dis- 
ease which they pretended to cure." Calhoun's pes- 
simism was clearer eyed. The great nullifier per- 
ceived at once the insuppressible nature of the Aboli- 
tion movement and early predicted that the spirit 
then abroad in the North would not " die away of 
itself without a shock or convulsion." Yes, it was as 
he had prophesied, the anti-slavery reform was, at 
the very moment of Benton's groundless jubilation, 
rising and spreading with astonishing progress 
through the free States. It was gaining footholds in 
the pulpit, the school, and the press. It was a stal- 
wart sower, scattering broadcast as he walked over 
the fields of the then coming generation truths and 
antipathies of social principles, which were to make 
peace impossible between the slave-holding and the 
non-slave-holding halves of the Union. 

In the year 1836 the anti-slavery leaven or residuum 
for instance, was sufficiently potent to preserve the 
statutes of the free States, free from repressive laws 
directed against the Abolitionists. This was much 


but there was undoubtedly another phase of the agi- 
tation, a phase which struck the shallow eye of Ben- 
ton, and led him into false conclusions. It was not 
clear sailing for the reform. It was truly a period of 
stress and storm. Sometimes the reform was in a 
trough of the sea of public opinion, sometimes on the 
crest of a billow, and then again on the bosom of a 
giant ground swell. In Boston in this selfsame year 
which witnessed Benton's exultation over the fall of 
Abolitionism, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society 
was not able to obtain the use of hall or church for 
its annual meeting, and was in consequence forced 
into insufficient accommodations at its rooms on 
Washington street. The succeeding year the society 
was obliged, from inability to obtain the use of either 
hall or church in the city, to occupy for its annual 
meeting the loft over the stable connected with the 
Marlborough Hotel. It is a long way from this rude 
meeting-house to the hall of the House of Represent- 
atives, but in this storm and stress period the distance 
was traversed in a few brief hours. The society 
applied in its exigency for the use of the hall for an 
evening meeting, and the application was granted by 
the members. It was a jeu d' esprit of Henry B. Stan- 
ton, " That when Boston votes we go into a stable, 
but when the State votes we go into the State House." 
It was even so, for the incident served to reveal what 
was true everywhere through the free States that the 
anti-slavery reform was making fastest progress 
among people away from the great centres of popu- 
lation. It found ready access to the simple Ameri- 
can folk in villages, in the smaller towns, and in the 
rural districts of New England and the North, And 


already from these independent and iincorrupted 
sons and daughters of freedom had started the deep 
ground swell which was to lift the level of Northern 
public opinion on the question of slavery. 

This Walpurgis period of the movement culminated 
on November 7, 1837, in a terrible tragedy. The 
place was a little Illinois town, Alton, just over the 
Mississippi River from St. Louis, and the victim was 
Elijah P. Lovejoy. He was a minister of the Presby- 
terian Church, and the editor of a weekly religious 
newspaper, first published in St. Louis and removed 
by him later to Alton. His sin was that he did not 
hold his peace on the subject of slavery in the col- 
umns of his paper. He was warned " to pass over in 
silence everything connected " with that question. 
But he had no choice, he had to cry aloud against 
iniquities, which, as a Christian minister and a Chris- 
tian editor, he dared not ignore. His troubles with 
the people of St. Louis took in the spring of 1836 
a sanguinary turn, when he denounced the lynching 
of a negro by a St. Louis mob, perpetrated under cir- 
cumstances of peculiar atrocity. In consequence 
of his outspoken condemnation of the horror, his 
office was broken into and destroyed by a mob. 
Lovejoy thereupon removed his paper to Alton, but 
the wild-cat-like spirit pursued him across the river 
and destroyed his press. He replaced his broken 
press with a new one, only to have his property a 
second time destroyed. He replaced the second with 
a third press, but a third time the mob destroyed his 
property. Then he bought a fourth press, and 
resolved to defend it with his life. Pierced by bullets 
he fell, resisting the attack of a mob bent on the de- 


struction of his rights. Lovejoy died a martyr to free 
speech and the freedom of the press. 

The tidings of this tragedy stirred the free States 
to unwonted depths. The murder of an able and sin- 
gularly noble man by a mob was indeed horrible 
enough, but the blow which took his life was aimed 
at the right of free speech and the freedom of the 
press. He was struck down in the exercise of his lib- 
erties as a citizen of the town where he met death, 
and of the State and country to which he belonged. 
What brave man and good in the North who might 
not meet a similar fate for daring to denounce evils 
approved by the community in which his lot was 
cast ? Who was safe ? Whose turn would it be next 
to pay with his life for attempts to vindicate the 
birthright of his citizenship? What had Lovejoy 
done, what had he written, that thousands of people 
who did not agree with Garrison would not have 
done and have written under like circumstances ? He 
was not a disciple of Garrison, he did not accept the 
doctrine of immediate emancipation, and yet a pro- 
slavery mob had murdered him. Yes, who was 
safe ? Who was to be the next ? A great horror 
transfixed the North, and bitter uncertainty, and 
tremendous dread of approaching perils to its 

Ah ! had not Garrison spoken much plain truth at 
the public hearing of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery 
Society before the insolent chairman and his commit- 
tee when he said: " The liberties of the people of the 
free States are identified with those of the slave pop- 
ulation. If it were not so, there would be no hope, in 
my breast, of peaceful deliverance of the latter class 



from their bondage. Our liberties are bound together 
by a ligament as vital as that which unites the Siam- 
ese twins. The blow which cuts them asunder, will 
inevitably destroy them both. Let the freedom of 
speech and of the press be abridged or destroyed, and 
the nation itself will be in bondage ; let it remain 
untrammeled, and Southern slavery must speedily 
come to an end." The tragedy at Alton afforded 
startling illustration of the soundness of this remark. 
Classes like individuals gain wisdom only by experi- 
ence ; and the murder of Lovejoy was one of those 
terrific experiences which furrow themselves in the 
soul of a people in frightful memories and apprehen- 
sions which do not disappear but remain after long 
lapse of years. 

Twelve days after the murder — it was before the 
development of the telegraph and rapid postal facili- 
ties — the news reached Boston. It produced the most 
profound sensation. Many of the leading citizens 
felt straightway that if the rights assailed in the per- 
son of Lovejoy were to be preserved to themselves 
and their section, immediate action was required. A 
great meeting was proposed, and Faneuil Hall 
applied for. The application was denied by the 
municipal authorities on the plea that its use for such 
a purpose might provoke a mob. The city was, how- 
ever, dealing now not with the despised Abolitionists, 
but with men of property and standing in the com- 
munity and was soon brought to its senses by the 
indignant eloquence of Dr. Channing, appealing to 
the better self of Boston in this strain : " Has it come 
to this ? Has Boston fallen so low ? May not its cit- 
izens be trusted to come together to express the great 


principles of liberty for which their forefathers died ? 
Are our fellow-citizens to be murdered in the act of 
defending their property and of assuming the right 
of free discussion ? And is it unsafe in this metrop- 
olis to express abhorrence of the deed ? " 

A second application for the hall was granted, and 
a meeting, which is an historical event in the annals 
of the old town, was held December 8, 1837 — a meet- 
ing memorable as an uprising, not of the Abolition- 
ists, but of the conservatism and respectability of the 
city in behalf of the outraged liberties of white men. 
Ever memorable,too, for that marvelous speech of Wen- 
dell Phillips, which placed him instantly in the front 
rank of minds with a genius for eloquence, lifted him 
at once as an anti-slavery instrument and leader close 
beside William Lloyd Garrison. The wild-cat-like 
Spirit which had hunted Thompson out of the coun- 
try and Lovejoy to death, had more than made 
^ood the immense deficit of services thus created 
fhrough the introduction upon the national stage of 
the reform of this consummate and incomparable 

The assassination of Lovejoy was an imposing 
object lesson to the North, but it was not the last. 
Other and terrible illustrations of the triumph of 
mobs followed it, notably the burning of Pennsylva- 
nia Hall in Philadelphia on the evening of May 17, 
1838. As the murder of Lovejoy formed the culmi- 
nation of outrages directed against the rights of per- 
son, the burning of Pennsylvania Hall furnished the 
climax of outrages committed against the rights of 
property. The friends of the slave and of free dis- 
cussion in Philadelphia feeling the need of a place 


where they might assemble for the exercise of the 
right of free speech in a city which denied to them 
the use of its halls and meeting-houses, determined 
to erect for themselves such a place. At a cost of 
forty thousand dollars they built Pennsylvania Hall 
and devoted it to " Free Discussion, Virtue, Liberty, 
and Independence." 

Two days after the dedicatory exercises were had 
the hall was occupied by the annual convention of 
American Anti-Slavery Women. On the evening of 
May i6th, Garrison, Maria Weston Chapman, Ange- 
lina Grimke Weld and others addressed the conven- 
tion in the new temple of freedom. The scenes of 
that evening have been graphically described by the 
first speaker as follows : " The floor of the hall was 
densely crowded with women, some of the noblest 
specimens of our race, a large proportion of whom 
were Quakers. The side aisles and spacious galleries 
were as thickly filled with men. Nearly three thou- 
sand people were in the hall. There seemed to be 
no visible symptoms of a riot. When I rose to speak 
I was greeted with applause by the immense assem- 
bly, and also several times in the course of my 
remarks. As soon, however, as I had concluded my 
address, a furious mob broke into the hall, yelling 
and shouting as if the very fiends of the pit had sud- 
denly broken loose. The audience rose in some con- 
fusion, and would undoubtedly have been broken up, 
had it not been for the admirable self-possession of 
some individuals, particularly the women. The 
mobocrats finding that they could not succeed in 
their purpose, retreated into the streets, and, sur- 
rounding the building, began to dash in the windows 


with Stones and brick-bats. It was under these 
appalling circumstances that Mrs. Chapman rose for 
the first time in her life, to address a promiscuous 
assembly of men and women — and she acquitted her- 
self nobly. She spoke about ten minutes, and was 
succeeded by A. E. G. Weld, who occupied nearly 
an hour. As the tumult from without increased, and 
the brick-bats fell thick and fast (no one, however, 
being injured) her eloquence kindled, her eye flashed, 
and her cheeks glowed, as she devoutly thanked the 
Lord that the stupid repose of that city had at length 
been disturbed by the force of truth. When she sat 
down, Esther Moore (a Friend) made a few remarks, 
then Lucretia Mott, and finally Abby Kelley, a noble 
young woman from Lynn. 

" The meeting broke up about lo o'clock, and we 
all got safely home. The next day the street was 
thronged with profane ruffians and curious specta- 
tors — the women, however, holding their meetings in 
the hall all day, till towards evening. It was given 
out by the mob that the hall would be burnt to the 
ground that night. We were to have a meeting in 
the evening, but it was impossible to execute our 
purpose. The mayor induced the manager to give 
the keys of the building into his hands. He then 
locked the doors, and made a brief speech to the mob, 
assuring them that he had the keys, and that there 
would be no meeting, and requesting them to retire. 
He then went home, but the mob were bent on the 
destruction of the hall. They had now increased to 
several thousands, and soon got Into the hall by 
dashing open the doors with their axes. They then 
set fire to this huge building, and in the course of an 



hour it was a solid mass of flame. The bells of the 
city were rung, and several engines rallied ; but no 
water was permitted to be thrown upon the building. 
The light of the fire must have been seen a great 

At midnight Garrison was spirited out of the city, 
and conveyed in a covered carriage by a friend to 
Bristol, about twenty miles, where in the morning he 
took the steamboat for Boston. The light of that 
fire was visible a great distance in more senses than 
one. The burning of Pennsylvania Hall proved a 
public enlightener. After that occurrence the gen- 
tlemen of property scattered through the free States 
devoted themselves less to the violent suppression of 
Abolitionism and more to the forcible suppression, 
upon occasion, of the alarming manifestations 
of popular lawlessness, which found significant 
demonstration just a week later in the city of 

Mr. Garrison has preserved for us an instructive 
account of this affair, too, and here is the story as told 
by him to his brother-in-law, George \V. Benson, in a 
letter dated May 25th : " The spirit of mobocracy, 
like the pestilence, is contagious ; and Boston is once 
more ready to reenact the riotous scenes of 1835. 
The Marlboro' Chapel, having just been completed, 
and standing in relation to our cause just as did 
Pennsylvania Hall, is an object of pro-slavery malevo- 
lence. Ever since my return, threats have been given 
out that the chapel should share the fate of the hall. 
Last evening was the time for its dedication ; and, 
so threatening was the aspect of things, four com- 
panies of light infantry were ordered to be in readi- 


ness, each being provided with loo ball cartridges, to 
rush to the scene of riot on the tolling of the bells. 
The Lancers, a * powerful body of horsemen, were 
also in readiness. During the day placards were 
posted at the corners of the streets, denouncing the 
Abolitionists, and calling upon the citizens to rally at 
the chapel in the evening, in order to put them down. 
An immense concourse of people assembled, a large 
proportion doubtless from motives of curiosity, and 
not a few of them with evil designs ; but owing to 
the strong military preparations, the multitude 
refrained entirely from any overt acts of violence. 
They did not disperse till after lo o'clock, and dur- 
ing the evening shouted and yelled like a troop of 
wild savages. Some ten or twelve were seized and 
carried to the watch-house, and this morning fined 
for their disorderly conduct." 

The frightful excesses of the Walpurgis period of 
the agitation reacted through the free States to an 
extraordinary extent in favor of Abolition. The 
greater the horror committed by the wild-cat-like 
spirit, the greater the help which the reform derived 
therefrom. The destruction of property, and the 
destruction of life instead of putting down the hated 
Abolitionists aroused in the public mind apprehen- 
sions and antagonisms in resp>ect of mobs, which 
proved, immediately and ultimately, of immense ad- 
vantage to freedom. This revulsion on the part of 
the North from lawless attempts to abolish Aboli- 
tionism, affected almost unavoidably, and in the be- 
ginning of it almost unconsciously, the friendly dis- 
positions of that section toward slavery, the root 
and mainspring of these attempts. Blows aimed at 



the agent were sure, regardless of the actor's inten- 
tion, to glance and strike the principal. In spite of 
mobs then, and to a remarkable degree because of 
mobs. Abolitionism had become a powerful motor 
in revolutionizing public opinion in the free States 
on the subject of slavery. 



During those strenuous, unresting years, included 
between 1829 and 1836, Garrison had leaned on his 
health as upon a strong staff. It sustained him with- 
out a break through that period, great as was the 
strain to which it was subjected. But early in the 
latter year the prop gave way, and the pioneer was 
prostrated by a severe fit of sickness. It lasted off 
and on for quite two years. His activity the first 
year was seriously crippled, though at no time, ow- 
ing to his indomitable will, could he be said to have 
been rendered completely -^^7^^ de combat. Almost the 
whole of 1836 he spent with his wife's family in 
Brooklyn, where his first child was born. This new 
mouth brought with it fresh cares of a domestic char- 
acter. He experienced losses also. Death removed 
his aged father-in-law in the last month of 1836, and 
four weeks later Henry E. Benson, his brother-in-law. 
Their taking off was a sad blow to the reformer and 
to the reform. That of the younger man cast a 
gloom over anti-slavery circles in New England ; for 
at the time of his death he was the secretary and 
general agent of the Massachusetts Society, and al- 
though not twenty-three, had displayed uncommon 
capacity for affairs. The business ability which he 
brought into his office was of the greatest value 




where there was such a distinct deficiency in that re- 
spect among his coadjutors, and the loss of it seemed 

Afflicted as he was, the leader was nevertheless 
cheered by the extraordinary progress of the move- 
ment started by him. The growth and activity of 
Abolitionism were indeed altogether phenomenal. In 
February, 1837, Ellis Gray Loring estimated that 
there were then eight hundred anti-slavery societies 
in the United States, that an anti-slavery society had 
been formed in the North every day for the last two 
years, and that in the single State of Ohio there were 
three hundred societies, one of which had a member- 
ship of four thousand names. The moral agitation 
was at its height. The National Society had hit upon 
a capital device for increasing the effectiveness of 
its agents and lecturers. This was to bring them 
together in New York for a few weeks' study of the 
slavery question under the direction of such masters 
as Theodore D. Weld, Beriah Green, Charles Stuart, 
and others. All possible phases of the great subject, 
such as, What is slavery ? What is immediate eman- 
cipation ? The consequences of emancipation to the 
South, etc., etc., pro-slavery objections and argu- 
ments were stated and answered. The agents and 
lecturers went forth from the convention bristling 
with facts, and glowing with enthusiasm to renew the 
crusade against slavery. Garrison, broken in health 
as he was, went on from Boston to attend this school 
of his disciples. He spoke briefly but repeatedly to 
them upon the all-absorbing topic which had brought 
them together. " It was a happy circumstance, too," 
he wrote, that I was present with them, and that 



they had an opportunity to become personally 
acquainted with me ; for, as I am a great stumbling- 
block in the way of the people, or, rather, of some 
people, it would be somewhat disastrous to our cause 
if any of our agents, through the influence of popular 
sentiment, should be led to cherish prejudices 
against me." 

In February, 1837, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery 
Society came to the rescue of the Liberator from its 
financial embarrassments and hand-to-mouth exist- 
ence by assuming the responsibility of its publica- 
tion. The arrangement did not in any respect 
compromise Mr. Garrison's editorial independence, 
but lifted from him and his friend Knapp in his own 
language, " a heavy burden, which has long crushed 
us to the earth." The arrangement, nevertheless, 
continued but a year when it was voluntarily set 
aside by Mr. Garrison for causes of which we must 
now give an account. 

In the letter from which we have quoted above, 
touching his visit to the Convention of Anti-Slavery 
Agents, Garrison alludes to one of these causes. He 
says : " I was most kindly received by all, and treated 
as a brother, notwithstanding the wide difference of 
opinion between us on some religious points, especi- 
ally the Sabbath question^ The italics are our own. 
Until within a few years he had been one of the 
strictest of Sabbath observers. Although never for- 
mally connected with any church, he had been a 
narrow and even an intolerant believer in the creed 
and observances of New England orthodoxy. Words 
failed him in 1828 to express his abhorrence of a 
meeting of professed infidels : " It is impossible," he 



exclaimed with the ardor of a bigot, "to estimate the 
depravity and wickedness of those who, at the 
present day, reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ," etc. 
A year and a half later while editing the Genius in 
Baltimore, he held uncompromisingly to the stern 
Sabbatical notions of the Puritans. A fete given to 
Lafayette in France on Sunday seemed to him an 
act of sheer religious desecration. The carrying of 
passengers and the mails on the Sabbath provoked 
his energetic reprobation. He was in all points of 
New England Puritanism, orthodox of the orthodox. 

Subsequently he began to see things in a different 
light. As the area of his experience extended it 
came to him that living was more than believing, 
that it was not every one who professed faith in 
Jesus had love for him in the heart ; and that there 
were many whom his own illiberalism had rated as 
depraved and wicked on mere points of doctrine, 
who, nevertheless, shamed by the blamelessness and 
nobility of their conduct multitudes of ardent Chris- 
tians of the lip-service sort. Indeed this contradic- 
tion between creed and conduct struck him with con- 
siderable force in the midst of his harsh judgments 
against unbelief and unbelievers. " There are, in 
fact," he had remarked a year or two after he had 
attained his majority, " few reasoning Christians ; the 
majority of them are swayed more by the usages of 
the world than by any definite perception of what 
constitutes duty — so far, we mean, as relates to the 
subjugation of vices which are incorporated, as it 
were, into the existence of society ; else why is it 
that intemperance, and slavery, and war, have not 
ere this in a measure been driven from our land ? " 



As the months of his earnest young life passed 
him by, they showed him as they went how horrible 
a thing was faith without works. " By their fruits 
ye shall know them," the Master had said, and more 
and more as he saw how many and great were the 
social evils to be reformed, and in what dire need 
stood his country of righteous action, did he come 
to put increasing emphasis on conduct, as the one 
thing needful to rid the land of the triple curse of 
slavery, intemperance, and war. As he mused upon 
these giant evils, and the desolation which they were 
singly and together causing in the world, and upon 
the universal apathy of the churches in respect of 
them, it seemed to him that the current religion was 
an offence and an abomination. And in his prophetic 
rage he denounced it as a religion which quadrates 
with the natural depravity of the heart, giving 
license to sin, restraining no lust, mortifying not the 
body, engendering selfishness, and cruelty ! — a relig- 
ion which walks in silver slippers, on a carpeted 
floor, having thrown off the burden of the cross and 
changed the garments of humiliation for the splendid 
vestments of pride ! a religion which has no courage, 
no faithfulness, no self-denial, deeming it better to 
give heed unto men than unto God ! " This was in 
the autumn of 1829, but though he was thus violently 
denunciatory of contemporary religion, the severity 
of his judgment against the skepticism of the times 
had not been materially modified. He still regarded 
the unbeliever with narrow distrust and dislike. 
When, after his discharge from Baltimore jail, he was 
engaged in delivering his message on the subject of 
slavery, and was seeking an opportunity to make 



what he knew known to the people of Boston, he was 
forced, after vainly advertising for a hall or meeting- 
house in which to give his three lectures, to accept 
the offer of Abner Kneeland's Society of Infidels of 
the use of their hall for that purpose. The spirit of 
these people, branded by the community as blas- 
phemers, and by himself, too, in all probability,. 
Garrison saw to be as admirable as the spirit dis- 
played by the churches of the city toward him and 
his cause was unworthy and sinful. But, grateful as 
he was for the hospitality of the infidels, he, neverthe- 
less, rather bluntly informed them that he had no 
sympathy with their religious notions, and that he 
looked for the abolition of slavery to evangelicism, 
and to it alone. 

A few years in the university of experience, where 
he learned that conduct is better than creeds, and 
living more than believing, served to emancipate him 
from illiberal prejudices and narrow sectarianism. 
He came to see, " that in Christ Jesus all stated 
observances are so many self-imposed and unneces- 
sary yokes ; and that prayer and worship are all 
embodied in that pure, meek, child-like state of heart 
which affectionately and reverently breathes but one 
petition — * Thy will be done on earth as it is in 
heaven.' Religion . . . is nothing but love — perfect 
love toward God and toward man — without formality, 
without hypocrisy, without partiality — depending 
upon no outward form to preserve its vitality or 
prove its existence." 

This important change in Mr. Garrison's religious 
convictions became widely known in the summer of 
1836 through certain editorial strictures of his upon 



a speech of Dr. Lyman Beecher, at Pittsburgh, on the 
subject of the Sabbath. The good doctor was cold 
enough on the question of slavery, which involved 
not only the desecration of the Sabbath, but of the 
souls and bodies of millions of human beings. If 
Christianity was truly of divine origin, and Garrison 
devoutly believed that it was, it would approve its 
divinity by its manner of dealing with the vices and 
evils which were dragging and chaining the feet of 
men to the gates of hell. If it parleyed with iniquity, 
if it passed its victims by on the other side, if it did 
not war incessantly and energetically to put down 
sin, to destroy wickedness, it was of the earth, earthy; 
and its expounders were dumb dogs where they 
should bark the loudest and bite the hardest ; and 
Dr. Beecher appeared to him one of these dumb dogs, 
who, when he opened his mouth at all, was almost 
sure to open it at the men who were trying through 
evil report and good to express in their lives the 
spirit of Him who so loved the world that He gave 
His Son to die to redeem it. He bayed loud enough 
at the Abolitionists but not at the abomination which 
they were attacking. He was content to leave it to 
the tender mercies of two hundred years. No such 
liberal disposition of the question of the Sabbath was 
he willing to allow. He waxed eloquent in its behalf. 
His enthusiasm took to itself wings and made a great 
display of ecclesiastical zeal beautiful to behold. 
" The Sabbath," quoth the teacher who endeavored 
to muzzle the students of Lane Seminary on the 
subject of slavery, whose ultimate extinction his 
prophetic soul quiescently committed to the operation 
of two centuries ; " the Sabbath," quoth he, " is 



the great sun of the moral world.'" Out upon you, 
said Garrison, the LORD GOD is the great sun of the 
moral world, not the Sabbath. It is not one, but 
every day of the week which is His, and which men 
should be taught to observe as holy days. It is not 
regard for the forms of religion but for the spirit, 
which is essential to righteousness. What is the 
command, * Remember the Sabbath day to keep it 
holy,' but one of ten commandments ? Is the viola- 
tion of the fourth any worse than the violation of the 
third or fifth, or sixth ? Nowhere is it so taught in 
the Bible. Yet, what is slavery but a breaking and 
treading down of the whole ten, what but a vast 
system of adultery, robbery, and murder, the daily 
and yearly infraction on an appalling scale not alone 
of the spirit but of the letter of the decalogue ? 

Mr. Garrison then passed to criticisms of a more 
special character touching the observance of the day 
thus: These remarks are made not to encourage 
men to do wrong at any time, but to controvert a 
pernicious and superstitious notion, and one that is 
very prevalent, that extraordinary and supernatural 
visitations of divine indignation upon certain trans- 
gressors (of the Sabbath particularly and almost 
exclusively) are poured out now as in the days of 
Moses and the prophets. Whatever claim the Sab- 
bath may have to a strict religious observance, we 
are confident it cannot be strengthened, but must 
necessarily be weakened, by all such attempts to 
enforce or prove its sanctity." This pious but 
rational handling of the Sabbath question gave 
instant offence to the orthodox readers of the 
Liberator. For it was enough in those days to con- 



vict the editor of rank heresy. From one and another 
of his subscribers remonstrances came pouring in 
upon him. A young theological student at Yale 
ordered his paper stopped in consequence of the 
anti-Sabbatarian views of the editor. A Unitarian 
minister at Harvard, Mass., was greatly cut up by 
reason thereof, and suddenly saw what before he did 
not suspect. " I had supposed you," he wrote in his 
new estate, " a very pious person, and that a large 
proportion of the Abolitionists were religious persons. 

. . . I have thought of you as another Wilber- 
force — but would Wilberforce have spoken thus of 
the day on which the Son of God rose from the 
dead ? " Garrison's query in reply — "Would Wilber- 
force have denied the identity of Christ with the 
Father?" — was a palpable hit. But as he himself 
justly remarked, *'Such questions are not arguments, 
but fallacies unworthy of a liberal mind." Never- 
theless, so long as men are attached to the leading 
strings of sentiment rather than to those of reason, 
such questions will possess tremendous destructive 
force, as Mr. Garrison, in his own case, presently per- 
ceived. He understood the importance of not arous- 
ing against him denominational feelings or peculi- 
arities," and so had steered the Liberator clear of the 
rocks of sectarianism. But when he took up in its 
columns the Sabbath question he ran his paper 
directly among the breakers of a religious contro- 
versy. He saw how it was with him at once, saw 
that he had stirred up against him all that religious 
feeling which was crystallized around the first day of 
the week, and that he could not hope to escape with- 
out serious losses in one way or another. It is 



pretty certain," he writes Samuel J. May in Septem- 
ber, 1836, "that the Liberator vj'iW sustain a serious 
loss in its subscriptions at the close of the present 
volume ; and all appeals for aid in its behalf will be 
less likely to prevail than formerly. I am conscious 
that a mighty sectarian conspiracy is forming to 
crush me, and it will probably succeed to some 

This controversy over the Sabbath proved the thin 
edge of differences and dissensions, which, as they 
went deeper and deeper, were finally to rend asunder 
the erstwhile united Abolition movement. The pe- 
riod was remarkable for the variety and force of new 
ideas, which were coming into being, or passing into 
general circulation. And to all of them it seems that 
Garrison was peculiarly receptive. He took them all 
in and planted them in soil of extraordinary fertility. 
It was immediately observed that it was not only one 
unpopular notion which he had adopted, but a whole 
headful of them. And every one of these new ideas 
was a sort of rebel-reformer, a genuine man of war. 
They had come as a protest against the then existing 
beliefs and order of things, come as their enemies and 
destroyers. Each one of them was in a sense a 
stirrer-up of sedition against old and regnant rela- 
tions and facts, political, moral, and religious. Who- 
ever espoused them as his own, espoused as his own 
also the antagonisms, political, moral, and religious 
which they would excite in the public mind. All of 
which was directly illustrated in the experience of the 
editor of the Liberator. Each of these new notions 
presently appeared in the paper along with Abolition- 
ism. What was his intention timid people began to 


inquire? Did he design to carry them along with the 
Abolition movement ? Suspicious minds fancied they 
saw " in Mr. Garrison, a decided wish, nay, a firm 
resolve, in laboring to overthrow slavery, to over- 
throw the Christian Sabbath and the Christian min- 
istry. His doctrine is that every day is a Sabbath, 
and every man his own minister. There are no 
Christian ordinances, there is no visible church." His 
no-government and non-resistant ideas excited yet 
further the apprehensions of some of his associates 
for the safety of that portion of the present order to 
which they clung. As developed by Garrison they 
seemed to deny the right of the people " to frame a 
government of laws to protect themselves against 
those who would injure them, and that man can 
apply physical force to man rightfully under no cir- 
cumstances, and not even the parent can apply the 
rod to the child, and not be, in the sight of God, a 
trespasser^and a tyrant." 

Garrison embraced besides Perfectionism, a sort of 
political, moral, and religious Come-outerism, and 
faith in " universal emancipation from sin." His 
description of himself about this time as " an Ishmael- 
itish editor " is not bad, nor his quotation of " Woe is 
me my mother ! for I was born a man of strife " as 
applicable to the growing belligerency of his rela- 
tions with the anti-slavery brethren in consequence 
of the new ideas and isms, which were taking posses- 
sion of his mind and occupying the columns of the 

Among the strife-producers during this period of 
the anti-slavery agitation, the woman's question played 
a principal part. Upon this as upon the Sabbath 



question, Garrison's early position was one of extreme 
conservatism. As late as 1830, he shared the common 
opinions in regard to woman's sphere, and was 
strongly opposed to her stepping outside of it into 
that occupied by man. A petition of seven hundred 
women of Pittsburgh, Pa., to Congress in behalf of 
the Indians gave his masculine prejudices a great 
shock. This is, in our opinion," he declared, " an 
uncalled for interference, though made with holiest 
intentions. We should be sorry to have this practice 
become general. There would then be no question 
agitated in Congress without eliciting the informal 
and contrariant opinions of the softer sex." This top- 
lofty sentiment accorded well with the customary 
assumption and swagger of one of the lords of crea- 
tion. For the young reformer was evidently a firm 
believer in the divine right of his sex to rule in the 
world of politics. But as he grew taller and broader 
the horizon of woman widened, and her sphere 
embraced every duty, responsibility, and right for 
which her gifts and education fitted her. The hard 
and fast lines of sex disappeared from his geography 
of the soul. He perceived for a truth that in human- 
ity there was neither male nor female, but that man 
and woman were one in work and destiny — equals in 
bearing the world's burden, equals in building the 
world's glory. He heard in his heart the injunction of 
the eternal wisdom saying : "Whom God hath joined 
together let no man put asunder ; " and straightway 
disposed his opinions and prejudices, his thoughts 
and purposes in cordial obedience therewith. He saw 
at once the immense value of woman's influence in 
the temperance movement, he saw no less quickly her 


importance in the anti-slavery reform, and he had 
appealed to her for help in the work of both, and she 
had justified his appeal and proven herself the most 
devoted of coadjutors. 

In the beginning of the movement against slavery 
, the line of demarcation between the sexes was strictly 
observed in the formation of societies. The men had 
theirs, the women theirs. Each, sexually considered, 
were very exclusive affairs. It did not seem to have 
occurred to the founders of the New England Anti- 
Slavery Society, or of the national organization to 
admit women to membership in them, nor did it seem 
to enter the mind of any woman to prefer a request 
to be admitted into them. Anti-slavery women organ- 
ized themselves into female anti-slavery societies, did 
their work apart from the men, who plainly regarded 
themselves as the principals in the contest, and 
women as their moral seconds. The first shock, 
which this arrangement, so accordant with the oak- 
and-ivy notion of the masculine half of mankind, 
received, came when representatives of the gentler 
sex dropped the secondary role assigned women in 
the conflict, and began to enact that of a star. The 
advent of the sisters Grimke upon the anti-slavery 
stage as public speakers, marked the advent of the 
idea of women's rights, of their equality with men in 
the struggle with slavery. 

At the start these ladies delivered their message to 
women only, but by-and-bye as the fame of their elo- 
quence spread men began to appear among their 
auditories. Soon they were thrilling packed halls 
and meeting-houses in different parts of the country, 
comprised of men and women. The lesson which 



their triumph enforced of women's fitness to enact 
the role of principals in the conflict with slavery was 
not lost upon the sex. Women went, saw, and con- 
quered their prejudices against the idea of equality ; 
likewise, many men. The good seed of universal lib- 
erty and equality fell into fruitful soil and germinated 
in due time within the heart of the moral movement 
against slavery. 

The more that Sarah and Angelina Grimk6 reflected 
upon the sorry position to which men had assigned 
women in Church and State the more keenly did they 
feel its injustice and degradation. They beat with 
their revolutionary idea of equality against the iron 
bars of the cage-like sphere in which they were born, 
and within which they were doomed to live and die 
by the law of masculine might. At heart they were 
rebels against the foundation principle of masculine 
supremacy on which society and government rested. 
While pleading for the freedom of the slaves, the 
sense of their own bondage and that of their sisters 
rose up before them and revealed itself in bitter ques- 
tionings. Are we aliens," asked Angelina, "because 
we are women ? Are we bereft of citizenship because 
we are the mothers, wives, and daughters of a mighty peo- 
ple ? Have women no country — no interests staked on 
the public weal — no partnership in a nation's guilt or 
shame ? " This discontent with the existing social 
establishment in its relation to women received sym- 
pathetic responses from many friends to whom the 
sisters communicated the contagion of their unrest 
and dissatisfaction. Angelina records that, " At 
friend Chapman's, where we spent a social evening, I 
had a long talk with the brethren on the rights of 


women, and found a very general sentiment prevail- 
ing that it is time our fetters were broken. L. M. 
Child and Maria Chapman strongly supported this 
view ; indeed very many seem to think a new order 
of things is very desirable in this respect." 

This prevalence of a sentiment favorable to women's 
rights, which Angelina observed in Mrs. Chapman's 
parlors possessed no general significence. For true 
to the character of new ideas, this particular new 
idea did not bring peace but a sword. It set Aboli- 
tion brethren against Abolition brethren, and blew 
into a flame the differences of leaders among them- 
selves. But the first irruption of strife which it 
caused proceeded from without, came from the 
church or rather from the clergy of the Orthodox 
Congregational churches of Massachusetts. This cler- 
ical opposition to the idea of women's rights found 
expression in the celebrated "Pastoral Letter," issued 
by the General Association of Ministers of that 
denomination to the churches of the same in the sum- 
mer of 1837. This ecclesiastical bull had two dis- 
tinct purposes to accomplish ; first, to discourage the 
agitation of the slavery question by excluding anti- 
slavery agents from lecturing upon that subject in 
the churches ; and, second, to suppress the agitation 
of the woman's question by setting the seal of the dis- 
approval of the clergy to the appearance of women in 
their new and revolutionary role of public speakers 
and teachers on the burning subjects of the times. 
The reverend authors threw up their hands and 
eyes in holy horror at the " widespread and perma- 
nent injury " which seemed to them to threaten *'the 
female character." They scorned the new-fangled 



notion of woman's independence, and asked for noth- 
ing better than the Pauline definition of her " appro- 
priate duties and influence." "The power of women," 

quoth they, " is in her dependence When she 

assumes the place and tone of man as a public 
reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnec- 
essary ; we put ourselves in self-defence against her, 
she yields the power which God has given her for 
protection, and her character becomes unnatural ! " 

These Congregational ministers were not the only 
representatives of the lordly sex to whom the idea of 
women's equality was repellent. Anti-slavery breth- 
ren, too, were flinging themselves into all postures of 
self-defence against the dangerous innovation, which 
the sisters Grimke were letting into the social estab- 
lishment, by itinerating in the character of public 
lecturers and teachers." Amos A. Phelps was quite 
as strongly opposed to women preachers, to women 
assuming the ** place and tone of man as a public 
reformer," as Nehemiah Adams himself. He remon- 
strated with them against their continued assump- 
tion of the character of public lecturers and teachers, 
but to no purpose. Sarah and Angelina were uncom- 
promising, refused to yield one iota of their rights as 

moral and responsible beings." They firmly declined 
to make their Quakerism and not their womenhood 
their warrant for " exercising the rights and perform- 
ing the duties" of rational and responsible beings, for 
the sake of quieting tender consciences, like that of 
Phelps, among the anti-slavery brethren. They were in 
earnest and demanded to know "whether there is such 
a thing as male and female virtues, male and female 
duties." Angelina writes: "My opinion is that there 



is no difference, and that this false idea has run the 
ploughshare of ruin over the whole field of morality. 
My idea is that whatever is morally right for a man 
to do is morally right for a woman to do. I recog- 
nize no rights but human rights. . . . I am persuaded 
that woman is not to be, as she has been, a mere sec- 
ond-hand agent in the regeneration of a fallen world, 
but the acknowledged equal and co-worker with 
man in this glorious work." 

The debate on the subject threatened for a short 
season to push the woman's question to the level of 
the slavery question. The contention became acri- 
monius, and the alienation of friendships was wide- 
spread. John G. Whittier and Theodore D. Weld, 
who were both avowed believers in the idea of 
women's rights, nevertheless, felt that the agitation 
of the subject, under the circumstances, was a grave 
blunder. " No moral enterprise, when prosecuted 
with ability and any sort of energy, ever failed under 
heaven," wrote Weld to Sarah and Angelina, so 
long as its conductors pushed the main principle, and 
did not strike off until they reached the summit level. 
On the other hand, every reform that ever foundered 
in mid-sea, was capsized by one of these gusty 
side-winds." Both Weld and Whittier endeavored 
to dissuade the sisters from mooting the question of 
women's rights at all, and to urge them to devote 
their voice and pen to the " main principle " exclu- 
sively. But Angelina confesses that ''our judgment 
is not convinced, and we hardly know what to do 
about it, for we have just as high an opinion of 
Brother Garrison's views, and he says '■go on' " The 
influence of Weld and Whittier finally prevailed with 



** Carolina's high-souled daughters," and they re- 
frained from further agitation of the subject of 
Women's rights lest they should thereby injure the 
cause of the slave. 

But the leaven of equality was not so effectually 
disposed of. It had secured permanent lodgment in 
the anti-slavery body, and the fermentation started 
by it, went briskly on. Such progress did the princi- 
ple of women's rights make among the Eastern Abo- 
litionists, especially among those of Massachusetts, 
that in the spring of 1838 the New England Anti- 
Slavery Society voted to admit women to equal 
membership with men. This radical action was fol- 
lowed by a clerical secession from the society, which 
made a stir at the time. For among the seceding 
members was no less a personage than Amos A. 
Phelps, who was the general agent of the Massachu- 
setts Society, and therefore one of Garrison's 
stanchest supporters. The reform instituted by the 
New England Society, in respect of the character of 
its membership, was quickly adopted by the Massa- 
chusetts Society and by several local organizations, 
all of which set the ball of discord spinning among 
the brethren at a great rate. But by this time all the 
new ideas, Sabbatical, no-government, perfectionist, 
non-resistance, as well as women's rights, were within 
the anti-slavery arena, and fencing and fighting for a 
chance to live, with the old ideas and the old order. 

Garrison championed all of the new ideas, and in 
doing so arrayed against himself all of the special 
champions of the existing establishments. In his re- 
duced physical state, the reformer was not equal to 
the tremendous concussions of this " era of activity," 



as Emerson named it. At moments he appeared be- 
wildered amid the loud, fierce clamor of contend- 
ing ideas, each asserting in turn its moral primacy. 
For an instant the vision of the great soul grew dim, 
the great heart seemed to have lost its bearings. All 
of the new ideas thawed and melted into each other, 
dissolved into one vague and grand solidarity of 
reforms. The voice of the whole was urging him 
amid the gathering moral confusion to declare him- 
self for all truth, and he hearkened irresolute, with 
divided mind. " I feel somewhat at a loss to know 
what to do " — he confesses at this juncture to George 
W. Benson, " whether to go into all the principles of 
holy reform and make the Abolition cause subordi- 
nate, or whether still to persevere in the one beaten 
track as hitherto. Circumstances hereafter must 
determine this matter." That was written in August, 
1837 ; a couple of months later circumstances had 
not determined the matter, it would seem, from the 
following extract from a letter to his brother-in-law : 
It is not my intention at present to alter either the 
general character or course of the Liberator. My 
work in the anti-slavery cause is not wholly done ; 
as soon as it is, I shall know it, and shall be pre- 
pared, I trust, to enter upon a mightier work of 

Meanwhile the relations between the editor of the 
Liberator and the managers of the national organiza- 
tion were becoming decidedly strained. For it seemed 
to them that Garrison had changed the anti-slavery 
character of his paper by the course which he had 
taken in regard to the new ideas which were finding 
their way into its columns to the manifest harm of 



the main principle of immediate emancipation. This 
incipient estrangement between the pioneer and the 
executive committee of the national society was 
greatly aggravated by an occurrence, which, at the 
time, was elevated to an importance that it did not 
deserve. This occurrence was what is known in anti- 
slavery annals as the *' Clerical Appeal." Five clergy- 
men, who were obviously unfriendly to Garrison, and 
distrustful of the religious and social heresies which 
they either saw or fancied that they saw in the Liber- 
ator^ and withal jealous lest the severities of the paper 
against particular pro-slavery ministers should dimin- 
ish the influence and sacred character of their order, 
published, in August of 1837, in the New England Spec- 
tator an acrid arraignment of editor and paper, upon 
five several charges, designed to bring Garrisonism to 
the block and speedy death. This document was fol- 
lowed by two other appeals by way of supplement 
and rejoinder from the same source, an " Andover 
Appeal " from kindred spirits and a bitter, per- 
sonal letter from one of the seventy agents," all of 
them having a common motive and purpose, viz., 
sectarian distrust and dislike of Garrison, and desire 
to reduce his anti-slavery influence to a nullity. 

In his diseased and suffering bodily condition, Gar- 
rison naturally enough fell into the error of exagger- 
ating the gravity of these attacks upon himself. Insig- 
nificant in an historical sense, they really were an epi- 
sode, an unpleasant one to be sure for the time being, 
but no more. To Garrison, however, they appeared 
in a wholly different light. It seemed a rebellion on 
a pretty grand scale, which called for all his strength, 
all the batteries of the friends of freedom, all his ter- 



rible and unsparing severities of speech to quell it. 
All his artillery he posted promptly in positions com- 
manding the camp of the mutineers, and began to 
pour, as only he could, broadside after broad- 
side into the works of the wretched little camp of 
rebels. He could hardly have expended more energy 
and ammunition in attacking a strategical point of 
Southern slavery, than was expended in punishing a 
handful of deserters and insurgents. But, alas ! he 
was not satisfied to draw upon his own resources for 
crushing the clerical sedition, he demanded reinforce- 
ments from the central authorities in New York as 
well. And then began a contention between him and 
the Executive Committee of the National Society, 
which issued only in ill. 

Garrison considered it the duty of the Executive 
Committee to disapprove officially of the action of the 
Massachusetts recalcitrants, and also the duty of its 
organ, the Emancipator^ to rebuke the authors of the 
" appeals." Not so, replied Lewis Tappan and Elizur 
Wright, your request is unreasonable. If you choose 
to make a mountain out of a molehill, you choose to 
make a mistake which the Executive Committee will 
not repeat. Your troubles are wholly local, of no 
general importance whatever. "What! Shall a whole 
army stop its aggressive movements into the territor- 
ies of its enemies to charge bayonets on five soldiers, 
subalterns, company, or even staff officers, because 
they stray into a field to pick berries, throw stones or 
write an * appeal ? ' To be frank with you we shall 
make bold to say that we do not approve of the 
appeal, it is very censurable, its spirit is bad, but 
neither do we approve of your action in the premises, 



it is also very censurable and its spirit is bad. What 
then ? shall the Executive Committee condemn the 
authors of the appeal and not condemn the editor of 
the Liberator also ? If strict military justice were 
done should not both parties be cashiered ? Let the 
Sabbath and the theoretic theology of the priesthood 
alone for the present." " I could have wished, yes, I 
have wished from the bottom of my soul," it is 
Wright who now holds the pen, " that yon could con- 
duct that dear paper, the Liberator^ in the singleness 
of purpose of its first years, without traveling off 
from the ground of our true, noble, heart-stirring 
Declaration of Sentiments — without breathing senti- 
ments which are novel and shocking to the commun- 
ity, and which seem to me to have no logical sequence 
from the principles on w^hich we are associated as 
Abolitionists. I cannot but regard the taking hold of 
one great moral enterprise while another is in hand 
and but half achieved, as an outrage upon common- 
sense, somewhat like that of the dog crossing the 
river with his meat. But you have seen fit to intro- 
duce to the public some novel views — I refer especi- 
ally to your sentiments on government and religious 
perfection — and they have produced the effect which 
was to have been expected. And now considering 
what stuff human nature is made of, is it to be won- 
dered at that some honest-hearted, thorough-going 
Abolitionists should have lost their equanimity ? As 
you well know I am comparatively no bigot to any 
creed, political or theological, yet to tell the plain 
truth, I look upon your notions of government and 
religious perfection as downright fanaticism — as 
harmless as they are absurd. I would not care a pin's 


head if they were preached to all Christendom ; for 
it is not in the human mind (except in a peculiar 
and, as I think, diseased state) to believe them." 

Barring the extreme plainness of speech with which 
Wright and Tappan gave their advice to Mr. Garri- 
son, it was in the main singularly sound and wise. 
But the pioneer did not so regard it. He was pos- 
sessed with his idea of the importance of chastising 
the clerical critics, and of the duty of the Executive 
Committee and of the Emancipator to back him in the 
undertaking. His temper was, under all circum- 
stances, masterful and peremptory. It was never 
njore masterful and peremptory than in its manage 
ment of this business. The very reasonable course of 
the Board at New York suggested to his mind a pre- 
dominance of " sectarianism at headquarters," seemed 
to him "criminal and extraordinary." As the Execu- 
tive Committee and its organ would not rebuke the 
schismatics, he was moved to rebuke the Executive 
Committee and its organ for their " blind and 
temporizing policy." And so matters within the 
movement against slavery went, with increasing 
momentum, from bad to worse. 

The break in the anti-slavery ranks widened as new 
causes of controversy arose between the management 
in Boston and the management at New York. The 
Massachusetts Abolitionists had stood stanchly by 
Garrison against the clerical schismatics. They also 
inclined to his side in his trouble with the national 
board. Instead of one common center of activity and 
leadership the anti-slavery reform began now to 
develop two centers of activity and leadership. Gar- 
rison and the Liberator formed the moral nucleus at 



one end, the Executive Committee and the Emancipa- 
tor the moral nucleus at the other. Much of the ener- 
gies of the two sides were in those circumstances, 
absorbed in stimulating and completing the pro- 
cesses which were to ultimate in the organic division 
of the body of the movement against slavery. When 
men once begin to quarrel they will not stop for lack 
of subjects to dispute over. There will be no lack, 
for before one disputed point is settled another has 
arisen. It is the old story of the box of evils. Begin- 
nings must be avoided, else if one evil escapes, others 
will follow. The anti-slavery Pandora had let out one 
little imp of discord and many big and little imps 
were incontinently following. 

Against all of the new ideas except one, viz., the 
idea of anti-slavery political action, the New York 
leadership, speaking broadly, had opposed itself. But 
as if by some strange perversity of fate, this particu- 
lar new idea was the only one of the new ideas to 
which the Boston leadership did not take kindly. It 
became in time as the very apple of the eye to the 
management of the National Society. And the more 
ardently it was cherished by them, the more hateful 
did it become with the Boston Board. It was the 
only one of the new ideas which had any logical 
sequence from the Abolition cause. In a country 
where the principle of popular suffrage obtains, all 
successful moral movements must sometime ultimate 
in political action. There is no other way of fixing in 
laws the changes in public sentiment wrought during 
this period of agitation. The idea of political action 
was therefore a perfectly natural growth from the 
moral movement against slavery. The only reason- 



able objection to it would be one which went to show 
that it had arrived out of due course, that its appear- 
ance at any given time was marked by prematurity in 
respect of the reasons, so to speak, of the reform. 
For every movement against a great social wrong 
as was the anti-slavery movement must have its 
John-the-Baptist stage, its period of popular awaken- 
ing to the nature and enormity of sin and the duty 
of immediate repentance. 

The anti-slavery enterprise was at the time of the 
controversy between the New York and the Boston 
Boards in this first stage of its growth. It had not 
yet progressed naturally out of it into its next phase 
of political agitation. True there were tendencies 
more or less strong to enter the second stage of its 
development, but they seem irregular, personal, and 
forced. The time had not come for the adoption of 
the principle of associated political action against 
slavery. But the deep underlying motive of the advo- 
cates of the third-party idea was none the less a grand 
one, viz., "to have a free Northern nucleus," as Elizur 
Wright put it, "a standard flung to the breeze — some- 
thing around which to rally." Garrison probed to 
the quick the question in a passage of an address to 
the Abolitionists, which is here given : Abolition- 
ists ! you are now feared and respected by all politi- 
cal parties, not because of the number of votes you 
can throw, so much as in view of the moral integrity 
and sacred regard to principle which you have 
exhibited to the country. It is the religious aspect of 
your enterprise which impresses and overawes men 
of every sect and party. Hitherto you have seemed 
to be actuated by no hope of preferment or love of 


power, and therefore have established, even in the 
minds of your enemies, confidence in your disinter- 
estedness. If you shall now array yourselves as a 
political party, and hold out mercenary rewards to 
induce men to rally under your standard, there is 
reason to fear that you will be regarded as those who 
have made the anti-slavery cause a hobby to ride into 
office, however plausible or sound may be your pre- 
texts for such a course. You cannot, you ought not, 
to expect that the political action of the State will 
move faster than the religious action of the Church, 
in favor of the abolition of slavery ; and it is a fact 
not less encouraging than undeniable, that both the 
Whig and Democratic parties have consulted the 
wishes of Abolitionists even beyond the measure of 
their real political strength. More you cannot expect 
under any circumstances." 

Hotly around this point raged the strife among 
brethren. Actuated by the noblest motives were 
both sides in the main, yet, both sides displayed in 
the maintenance of their respective positions an 
amount of weak human nature, which proves that 
perfection is not attainable even by the most dis- 
interested of men. Harsh and abusive language 
good men uttered against good men. Distrust, 
suspicion, anger, and alienation took possession of 
the thoughts of the grandest souls. Saints and 
heroes beseemed themselves like very ordinary folk, 
who, when they come to differences, come directly 
afterward to high words and thumping blows. The 
love of David and Jonathan which once united Garri- 
son and Phelps, has died. Garrison and Stanton 
meet and only exchange civilities. They, too, have 


become completely alienated, and so on down the 
long list of the " goodliest fellowship . . . whereof 
this land holds record." To a sweet and gentle 
spirit like Samuel J. May, the acrimony and scenes 
of strife among his old associates was unspeakably 
painful. Writing to Garrison from South Scituate, 
May I, 1839, touches thus upon this head : " I 
now think I shall not go to New York next week. In 
the first place, I cannot afford the expense . . . But 
I confess, I do not lament my inability to go so much 
as I should do if the prospect of an agreeable meet- 
ing was fairer. I am apprehensive that it will be not 
so much an anti-slavery as anti-Garrison and anti- 
Phelps meeting, or anti-board-of-managers and anti- 
executive committee meeting. Division has done its 
work, I fear, effectually. The two parties seem to 
me to misunderstand, and therefore sadly misrepre- 
sent one another. I am not satisfied with the course 
you and your partisans have pursued. It appears to 
me not consistent with the non-resistant, patient, 
long-suffering spirit of the Gospel. And I do not 
believe that either the cause of the slave, or the cause 
of peace and righteousness has been advanced." 

The situation was further complicated by the dis- 
covery of a fresh bone of contention. As if to give 
just a shade of sordidness to the strife there must 
needs arise a money difficulty between the two rival 
boards of leaders. This is how our recent band of 
brothers happened to stumble upon their new apple 
of discord. Soon after the formation of the National 
Society an arrangement was made with each of the 
State societies whereby they agreed to operate finan- 
cially their respective territories and to turn into the 


national treasury the several sums which at the 
annual meeting they obligated themselves to con- 
tribute to the general work. This arrangement was 
intended to avoid the expense, conflict, and confusion 
consequent upon the employment of two sets of 
agents to work the same territory. Matters went on 
quite smoothly under this plan between the Massa- 
chusetts Board and the National Board until the be- 
ginning of the year 1839, when the former fell into 
arrears m the payment of its instalments to the latter. 
Money from one cause or another, was hard to get 
at by the Massachusetts Board, and the treasury in 
New York was in an extremely low state. The rela- 
tions between the two boards were, as we have seen, 
much strained and neither side was in the mood to 
cover with charity the shortcomings of the other. 
Perhaps the board at New York was too exacting, 
perhaps the board at Boston -vas not sufficiently 
zealous, under the circumstances. But w^hat were the 
real irritating causes which kept the two boards 
at loggerheads over the matter need not here be 
determined. This fact is clear that the arrangement 
was rescinded by the New York management, and 
their agents thrown into Massachusetts. This action 
only added fuel to a fire which was fast assuming 
the proportions of a conflagration. All the anti- 
Garrisonians formed themselves into a new anti- 
slavery society, and the National Board, as if to burn 
its bridges, and to make reconciliation impossible, 
established a new paper in Boston in opposition to 
the Liberator. The work of division was ended. 
There was no longer any vital connection between 
the two warring members of the anti-slavery reform. 



To tear the dead tissues asunder which still joined 
them, all that was wanted was anothar sharp shock, 
and this came at the annual meeting of the National 
Society in 1840 over the woman's question. The 
issue, *' Shall a woman serve with men on a com- 
mittee ^ " was precipitated upon the convention by 
the appointment of that brilliant young Quakeress, 
Abby Kelley, on the business committee with ten 
men. The convention confirmed her appointment by 
about a hundred majority in a total vote of 1,008. 
Whereupon those opposed to this determination of 
the question, withdrew from the convention and 
organized the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery 
Society. Garrison had triumphed and he was 
immensely elated with his victory. His moral leader- 
ship was definitely established, never again to be 
disputed by his disciples and followers. 



The division of the anti-slavery organization into 
two distinct societies did not immediately terminate 
the war between them. From New York and the 
American society the contest over the woman's 
qnestion was almost directly shifted after the tri- 
umph of the Garrisonians in the convention, to Lon- 
don and the World's Convention, which was held in 
the month of June of the year 1840. To this anti- 
slavery congress both of the rival anti-slavery organ- 
izations in America elected delegates. These dele- 
gates, chosen by the older society and by its auxili- 
aries of the States of Massachusetts and Pennsylva- 
nia, were composed of women and men. Lucretia 
Mott was not only chosen by the National Society, 
but by the Pennsylvania Society as well. The Mass- 
achusetts Society selected Lydia Maria Child, Maria 
Weston Chapman, and Ann Green Phillips together 
with their husbands among its list of delegates. Eng- 
land at this time was much more conservative on the 
woman's question than America. The managers of 
the World's Convention did not take kindly to the 
notion of women members, and signified to the Amer- 
ican societies who had placed women among their 
delegates that the company of the women was not ex- 
pected. Those societies, however, made no alteration 



in deference to this notice, in the character of their 
delegations, but stood stoutly by their principle of 
" the EQUAL BROTHERHOOD of the entire human fami- 
ly without distinction of color, sex, or clime." 

A contest over the admission of women to member- 
ship in the World's Convention was therefore a fore- 
gone conclusion. The convention, notwithstanding a 
brilliant fight under the lead of Wendell Phillips in 
behalf of their admission, refused to admit the women 
delegates. The women delegates instead of having 
seats on the floor were forced in consequence of this 
decision to look on from the galleries. Garrison, 
who with Charles Lenox Remond, Nathaniel P. Rog- 
ers, and William Adams, was late in arriving in Eng- 
land, finding, on reaching London the women exclud- 
ed from the convention and sitting as spectators in 
the galleries, determined to take his place among 
them, deeming that the act of the convention which 
discredited the credentials of Lucretia Mott and her 
sister delegates, had discredited his own also. Re- 
mond, Rogers, and Adams followed his example and 
took their places with the rejected women delegates 
likewise. The convention was scandalized at such 
proceedings, and did its best to draw Garrison and 
his associates from the ladies in the galleries to the 
men on the floor, but without avail. There they re- 
mained an eloquent protest against the masculine 
narrowness of the convention. Defeated in New York, 
the delegates of the new American and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Society triumphed over their victors in Lon- 
don. But their achievements m the World's Conven- 
tion, in this regard, was not of a sort to entitle them 
to point with any special pride in after years ; and, as 



a matter of fact, not one of them would have proba- 
bly cared to have their success alluded to in any sketch 
of their lives for the perusal of posterity. 

Garrison and his associates were the recipients of 
the most cordial and flattering attention from the 
English Abolitionists. He was quite lionized, in fact, 
at breakfasts, fetes, and soirees. The Duchess of 
Sunderland paid him marked attention and desired 
his portrait, which was done for Her Grace by the cele- 
brated artist, Benjamin Robert Haydon, who execu- 
ted besides a large painting of the convention, in which 
he grouped the most distinguished members with ref- 
erence to the seats actually occupied by them during 
its sessions. Of course to leave Garrison out of such 
a picture would almost seem like the play of " Ham- 
let " with Hamlet omitted, a blunder which the artist 
was by no means disposed to make. Garrison was 
accordingly invited to sit to him for his portrait. 
Haydon, who it seems was a student of human nature 
as well as of the human form, made the discovery of 
a fact which at first surprised and angered him. In 
making his groupings of heads he decided to place 
together the Rev. John Scoble, George Thompson 
and Charles Lenox Remond. When Scoble sat to 
him, Haydon told him of his design in this regard. 
But, remarked Haydon, Scoble " sophisticated imme- 
diately on the propriety of placing the negro in the 
distance, as it would have much greater effect." The 
painter now applied his test to Thompson who " saw 
no objection." Thompson did not bear the test to 
Haydon's satisfaction, who observed that A man 
who wishes to place the negro on a level must no 
longer regard him as having been a slave, and feel 


annoyed at sitting by his side." But when the artist 
approached Garrison on the subject it was wholly 
different. I asked him," Haydon records with obvi- 
ous pleasure, " and he met me at once directly." 

Thompson was not altogether satisfactory to Gar- 
rison either during this visit as the following extract 
from one of his letters to his wife evinces Dear 
Thompson has not been strengthened to do battle for 
us, as I had confidently hoped he would be. He is 
placed in a difficult position, and seems disposed to 
take the ground of non-committal, publicly, respect- 
ing the controversy which is going on in the United 

Garrison, Rogers, and Remond in the company of 
Thompson made a delightful trip into Scotland at 
this time. Everywhere the American Abolitionists 
were met with distinguished attentions. " Though I 
like England much, on many accounts," Garrison 
writes home in high spirits, " I can truly say that I 
like Scotland better." An instance, which may be 
coupled with that one furnished by Haydon, occurred 
during this Scottish tour, and illustrates strongly the 
kind of stuff of which he was made. On his way to 
the great public reception tendered the American 
delegates by the Glasgow Emancipation Society, a 
placard with the caption, ''Have 7i>e no white slaves V 
was put into his hands. Upon acquainting himself 
with its contents he determined to read it to the meet- 
ing, and to make it the text of remarks when he was 
called upon to address the meeting. He was present- 
ly announced and the immense audience greeted him 
with every manifestation of pleasure and enthusiasm, 
wuth loud cheering and waving of handkerchiefs. 



Nevertheless he held to his purpose to speak upon 
the subject of the placard, unwelcome though it 
should prove to his hearers. " After reading the in- 
terrogation, I said in reply : ' No — broad as is the 
empire, and extensive as are the possessions of Great 
Britain, not a single white SLAVE can be found in 
them all ; ' and I then went on to show the wide dif- 
ference that exists between the condition of human 
beings who are held and treated as chattels personal, 
and that of those who are only suffering from certain 
forms of political injustice or governmental oppres- 
sion . . . But,' I said, ' although it is not true that 
England has any white slaves, either at home or 
abroad, is it not true that there are thousands of her 
population, both at home and abroad, who are de- 
prived of their just rights, who are grievously op- 
pressed, who are dying even in the midst of abund- 
ance, of actual starvation ? YES ! ' and I expressly 
called upon British Abolitionists to prove themselves 
the true friends of suffering humanity abroad, by 
showing that they were the best friend of suffering 
humanity at home." Truth, justice, duty, always 
overrode with him the proprieties, however sacredly 
esteemed by others. Of a piece with this fact of the 
placard of the white slave was his custom in refusing 
the wine proffered by some of his British friends to 
their guests. He was not content with a simple re- 
fusal and the implied rebuke which it involved, he 
must needs couple his declaration with an express re- 
buke to host and hostess for tempting men into the 
downward way to drunkenness. 

While in attendance upon the sessions of the 
World's Convention Garrison received tidings, of the 



birth of his third child. The second, whom he named 
for himself, was born in 1838. The third, who was 
also a son, the fond father named after Wendell Phil- 
lips. Three children and a wife did not tend to a so- 
lution of the always difficult problem of family main- 
tenance. The pressure of their needs upon the hus- 
band sometimes, simple as indeed they were owing to 
the good sense and prudence of Mrs. Garrison, 
seemed to exceed the weight of the atmospheric col- 
umn to the square inch. The fight for bread was one 
of the bitterest battles of the reformer's life. The ar- 
rangement made in 1837, whereby the Massachusetts 
Anti-Slavery Society assumed the responsibility of the 
publication of the Liberator^ Garrison rescinded at 
the beginning of 1838, for the sake of giving himself 
greater freedom in the advocacy in its columns of the 
several other reforms in which he had enlisted, be- 
sides Abolitionism. But Garrison and the paper were 
now widely recognized as anti-slavery essentials and 
indispensables. Many of the leaders of the movement 
perceived, as Gerrit Smith expressed it in a letter en- 
closing fifty dollars for the editor, that " Among the 
many things in which the Abolitionists of our coun- 
try should be agreed, are the two following : (i) The 
Liberator must be sustained ; (2) its editor must be 
kept above want ; not only, nor mainly, for his own 
or his family's happiness ; but that, having his own 
mind unembarrassed by the cares of griping poverty, 
he may be a more effective advocate of the cause of 
the Saviour's enslaved poor." A new arrangement, in 
accordance with this suggestion for the support of 
the paper and the preservation of the editor from 
want, was made in 1839, and its performance taken 



in charge by a committee of gentlemen, who under- 
took to raise the necessary funds for those objects. 
Thus it was that Garrison, through the wise and gen- 
erous provision of friends, was enabled to augment 
the happiness of an increasing family, and at the same 
time add to his own effectiveness as an anti-slavery 

Garrison found occasion soon after his return from 
the World's Convention for the employment of all 
his added effectiveness for continuing the moral 
movement against slavery. For what with the strife 
and schism in the anti-slavery ranks, followed by the 
excitements of the long Presidential canvass of 1840, 
wherein the great body of the Abolitionists developed 
an uncontrollable impulse to political action, some 
through the medium of the new Liberty party which 
had nominated James G. Birney for the Presidency, 
while others reverted to the two old parties with 
which they had formerly acted — what with all these 
causes the pure moral movement started by Garrison 
was in grave danger of getting abolished or at least 
of being reduced to a nullity in its influence upon 
public opinion. John A. Collins, the able and re- 
sourceful general agent of the Massachusetts Anti- 
Slavery Society, wrote in the deepest anxiety to Gar- 
rison from New Bedford, September i, 1840, on this 
head. Says he : "I really wish you understood per- 
fectly the exact position the friends of the old organi- 
zation hold to the two great political parties, and 
how generally they have been caught up in the whirl- 
wind of political enthusiasm. Could you but go 
where I have been, and have seen and heard what I 
have seen and heard ; could you see men — aye, and 



women, too — who have been and still are your warm- 
est advocates, who have eschewed sectarianism, and 
lost their caste in the circle in which they moved, for 
their strong adherence to your views and measures, 
declare that they would sooner forego their Abolition- 
ism than their party. . . . Now, these are not the 
views of here and there a straggling Abolitionist, but 
of seven-tenths of all the voting Abolitionists of the 
State. . . . They are entirely unconscious of the 
demoralizing influence of their course. They need 
light, warning, entreaty, and rebuke." Besides this de- 
moralization of the Abolitionists, as described by Col- 
lins, the parent society at New York fell into bad 
financial straits. It was absolutely without funds, 
and without any means of supplying the lack. What 
should it do in its extremity but appeal to the Massa- 
chusetts Society which was already heavily burdened 
by its own load, the Liberator. The new organ of 
the national organization, The Anti-Slavery Standard^ 
surely must not be allowed to fail for want of funds 
in this emergency. The Boston management rose to 
the occasion. Collins was sent to England in quest 
of contributions from the Abolitionists of Great 
Britain. But, great as was the need of money, the 
relief which it might afford would only prove tem- 
porory unless there could be effected a thorough anti- 
slavery revival. This was vital. And therefore 
to this end Garrison now bent his remarkable 

Agents, during this period when money was scarce, 
were necessarily few. But the pioneer proved a host 
in himself. Resigning the editorial charge of the 
Liberator into the capable hands of Edmund Quincy, 



Garrison itinerated in the role of an anti-slavery lec- 
turer in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hamp- 
shire, reviving everywhere the languishing interest of 
his disciples. On the return of Collins in the sum- 
mer of 1841, revival meetings and conventions started 
up with increased activity, the fruits of which were of 
a most cheering character. At Nantucket, Garrison 
made a big catch in his anti-slavery net. It was 
Frederick Douglass, young, callow, and awkward, but 
with his splendid and inimitable gifts flashing 
through all as he, for the first time in his life, ad- 
dressed an audience of white people. Garrison, with 
the instinct of leadership, saw at once the value of the 
runaway slave's oratorical possibilities in their rela- 
tions to the anti-slavery movement. It was at his 
instance that Collins added Douglass to the band of 
anti-slavery agents. The new agent has preserved 
his recollections of the pioneer's speech on that 
eventful evening in Nantucket. Says he : Mr. 
Garrison followed me, taking me as his text ; and 
now, whether I had made an eloquent plea in 
behalf of freedom or not, his was one never to be 
forgotten. Those who had heard him oftenest, and 
had known him longest, were astonished at his mas- 
terly effort. For the time he possessed that almost 
fabulous inspiration, often referred to but seldom 
attained, in which a public meeting is transformed, 
as it were, into a single individuality, the orator 
swaying a thousand heads and hearts at once, and by 
the simple majesty of his all-controlling thought, 
converting his hearers into the express image of his 
own soul. That night there were, at least, a thousand 
Garrisonians in Nantucket !" 



Here is another picture of Garrison in the lecture- 
field. It is from the pen of N. P. Rogers, with whom 
he was making a week's tour among the White Moun- 
tains, interspersing the same with anti-slavery meet- 
ings. At Plymouth, failing to procure the use of a 
church for their purpose, they fell back upon the 
temple not made with hands. 

" Semi-circular seats, backed against a line of mag- 
nificent trees to accommodate, we should judge, from 
two to three hundred," Rogers narrates, were filled, 
principally with women, and the men who could not 
find seats stood on the green sward on either hand; 
and, at length, when wearied with standing, seated 
themselves on the ground. Garrison, mounted on a 
rude platform in front, lifted up his voice and spoke 
to them in prophet tones and surpassing eloquence, 
from half-past three till I saw the rays of the setting 
sun playing through the trees on his head. . . . 
They (the auditory) heeded it not any more than he, 
but remained till he ended, apparently indisposed to 
move, though some came from six, eight, and even 
twelve miles distance." So bravely prospered the 
revival agitation, under the vigorous preaching of 
the indomitable pioneer. 

In the midst of the growing activities of the revival 
season of the anti-slavery movement. Garrison had 
some personal experiences of a distressing nature. 
One of these was the case of his quondam friend and 
partner in the publication of the Liberator^ Isaac 
Knapp. He, poor fellow, was no longer the publisher 
of the paper. His wretched business management of 
his department tended to keep the Liberator in a state 
of chronic financial embarrassment. When the com- 



mittee, who assumed charge of the finances of the 
paper, took hold of the problem, they determined to 
let Knapp go. He was paid $150 or $175 as a quid 
pro quoiox his interest in the Liberator. Unfortunate 
in the business of a publisher, he was yet more unfor- 
tunate in another respect. He had become a victim 
of intemperance. His inebriety increased upon him, 
accelerated, no doubt, by his business failure. Not- 
withstanding Garrison's strong and tender friendship 
for Knapp, the broken man came to regard him as an 
enemy, and showed in many ways his jealousy and 
hatred of his old friend and partner. Very painful 
was this experience to the pioneer. 

An experience which touched Garrison more 
nearly arose out of the sad case of his brother James, 
who, the reader will recall, ran away from his mother 
in Baltimore and went to sea. He ultimately enlisted 
in the United States Navy, and what with the brutal- 
ities which he suffered at the hands of his superiors, 
by way of discipline, and with those of his own uncon- 
trolled passions and appetites, he was, when recovered 
by his brother William, a total moral and physical 
wreck. But the prodigal was gathered to the 
reformer's heart, and taken to his home where in 
memory of a mother long dead, whose darling was 
James, he was nursed and watched over with deep 
and pious love. There were sad lapses of the profli- 
gate man even in the sanctuary of his brother's home. 
The craving for liquor was omnipotent in the wretched 
creature, and he was attacked by uncontrollable 
desire for drink. But William's patience was infinite, 
and his yearning and pity at such times were as sweet 
and strong as a mother's. Death rung the curtain down 



in the fall of 1842, on this miserable life with its sorry 
and pathetic scenes. 

About this time a trial of a different sort fell to the 
lot of Garrison to endure. The tongue of detraction 
was never more busy with his alleged infidel doc- 
trines or to more damaging effect. Collins, in Eng- 
land, seeking to obtain contributions for the support 
of the agitation in America found Garrison's infidel- 
ity the great lion in the way of success. Even the 
good dispositions of the venerable Clarkson were 
affected by the injurious reports in this regard, circu- 
lated in England mainly by Nathaniel Colver, a nar- 
row and violent sectary of the Baptist denomination 
of the United States. It was, of course, painful to 
Garrison to feel that he had become a rock of offence 
in the path of the great movement, which he had 
started and to which he was devoting himself so 
energetically. To Elizabeth Pease, one of the noblest 
of the English Abolitionists, and one of his stanchest 
transatlantic friends, he defended himself against the 
false and cruel statements touching his religious 
beliefs. "I esteem the Holy Scriptures," he wrote her, 

above all other books in the universe, and always 
appeal to * the law and the testimony ' to prove all my 
peculiar doctrines." His religious sentiments and 
Sabbatical views are almost if not quite identical with 
those held by the Quakers. " I believe in an indwell- 
ing Christ," he goes on to furnish a summary of his 
confession of faith, " and in His righteousness alone ; 
I glory in nothing here below, save in Christ and in 
Him crucified; I believe all the works of the devil are to 
be destroyed, and Our Lord is to reign from sea to 
sea, even to the ends of the earth ; and I profess to 



have passed from death unto life, and know by happy 
experience, that there is no condemnation to them 
who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, 
but after the spirit." These were the pioneer's articles 
of faith. Their extreme simplicity and theologi- 
cal conservatism it would seem ought to have satisfied 
the evangelicals of all denominations. They were in 
essentials thoroughly orthodox. But in the compo- 
sition of the shibboleths of beliefs non-essentials as 
well as essentials enter, the former to the latter in the 
proportion of two to one. It is not surprising, there- 
fore, that Garrison's essentials proved unequal to the 
test set up by sectarianism, inasmuch as his spiritual 
life dropped the aspirate of the non-essentials of re- 
ligious forms and observances. 

But the good man had his compensation as well as 
his trials. Such of a very noble kind was the great 
Irish address brought over from Ireland by Remond 
in December 1841. It was signed by Daniel O'Con- 
nell, Father Mathew, and sixty thousand Roman 
Catholics of Ireland, who called upon the Irish 
Roman Catholics of America to make the cause of the 
slaves of the United States their cause. Large ex- 
pectations of Irish assistance in the anti-slavery agi- 
tation were excited in the bosoms of Abolitionists by 
this imposing appeal. Garrison shared the high hopes 
of its beneficent influence upon the Ireland of America, 
with many others. Alas ! for the " best laid schemes 
of mice and men," for the new Ireland was not popu- 
lated with saints, but a fiercely human race who had 
come to their new home to better their own con- 
dition, not that of the negro. Hardly had they 
touched these shores before they were Americanized 


in the colorphobia sense, out-Heroded Herod in 
hatred of the colored people and their anti-slavery 
friends. Indeed, it was quite one thing to preach Abo- 
litionism with three thousand miles of sea-wall between 
one and his audience, and quite another to rise and do 
the preaching with no sea-wall to guard the preacher 
from the popular consequences of his preaching, as 
Father Mathew quickly perceived and reduced to 
practice eight years later, when he made his memorable 
visit to this country. In vain was the monster docu- 
ment unrolled in Faneuil Hall, and many Abolition- 
ists with Irish blood were put forward to sweep the 
chords of Erin's heart, and to conjure by their elo- 
quence the disciples of St. Patrick to rally under the 
banner of freedom. There was no response, except 
the response of bitter foes. Erin's harp vibrated to 
no breeze which did not come out of the South. The 
slave-power had been erected into patron saint by 
the new Ireland in America, and the new Ireland in 
America was very well content with his saintship's pa- 
tronage and service. Thus it happened that the great 
expectations, which were excited by the Irish address, 
were never realized. But the pioneer had other fish 
in his net, had, in fact, meanwhile, got himself in 
readiness for a launch into a new and startling agita- 
tion. As to just what this new and startling agita- 
tion was we must refer the reader to the next 



When Garrison hoisted the banner of immediate 
emancipation he was over-confident of success 
through the instrumentality of the church. It did 
not enter his heart to conceive that after he had de- 
livered his message touching the barbarism of slavery 
that a church calling itself Christian, or that a min- 
istry arrogating to itself the character of the Christ, 
could possibly say him nay. But he learned sadly 
enough the utter folly of such expectations. For 
from pew and pulpit the first stones were hurled 
against him, and the most cruel and persistent oppo- 
sition and persecution issued. Then as the move- 
ment which he had started advanced, he saw how it 
was, why the church had played him false and the 
cause of freedom. It was because the poison of slav- 
ery which the evil one had injected into the nation's 
arteries had corrupted the springs of justice and 
mercy in that body. The Church was not free, it, too, 
was in bonds to slavery, how then could it help to 
free the slaves? That was the reason that pulpit and 
pew cried out against him and persecuted him. It 
was not they but the slave despotism, which ruled 
them, which wrought its fell purpose within them. 



If the reformer cast his eyes about him for other 
help it was the same; the slime of the serpent was 
upon State as well as Church. Both of the two great 
political parties were bound hands and feet, and given 
over to the will of the slave tyranny. In all depart- 
ments of Government, State and National, the posi- 
tive, all-powerful principle was slavery. Its dread 
nolo me tangere had forced Congress into the denial of 
the right of petition, and into the imposition of a gag 
upon its own freedom of debate. It was the grand 
President-maker, and the judiciary bent without a 
blush to do its service. What, then, in these circum- 
stances could the friends of freedom hope to achieve? 
The nation had been caught in the snare of slavery, 
and was in Church and State helpless in the vast 
spider-like web of wrong. The more the reformer 
pondered the problem, the more hopeless did success 
look under a Constitution which united right and 
wrong, freedom and slavery. As his reflections deep- 
ened, the conviction forced its way into his mind that 
the Union was the strong tower of the slave-power, 
which could never be destroyed until the fortress 
which protected it was first utterly demolished. In 
the spring of 1842 the pioneer was prepared to strike 
into this new path to effect his purpose. 

" We must dissolve all connection with those mur- 
derers of fathers," he wrote his brother-in-law, "and 
murderers of mothers, and murderers of liberty, and 
traffickers of human flesh, and blasphemers against 
the Almighty at the South. What have we in com- 
mon with them? What have we gained ? What have we 
not lost by our alliance with them ? Are not their prin- 
ciples, their pursuits, their policies, their interests. 



their designs, their feelings, utterly diverse from ours ? 
Why, then, be subject to their dominion ? Why not 
have the Union dissolved in form as it is in fact, es- 
pecially if the form gives ample protection to the 
slave system, by securing for it all the physical force 
of the North ? It is not treason against the cause of 
liberty to cry, Down with every slave-holding 
Union !" Therefore, I raise that cry. And O that I 
had a voice louder than a thousand thunders, that it 
might shake the land and electrify the dead — the 
dead in sin, I mean — those slain by the hand of 

A few weeks later the first peal of this thunder 
broke upon the startled ears of the country through 
the columns of the Liberator. The May meeting of 
the American Anti-Slavery Society was drawing near, 
and the reformer, now entirely ready to enter upon 
an agitation looking to the dissolution of the Union, 
suggested the duty of making the REPEAL OF 
THE UNION between the North and the South the 
grand rallying point until it be accomplished, or 
slavery cease to pollute our soil. We are for throwing 
all the means, energies, actions, purposes, and appli- 
ances of the genuine friends of liberty and republi- 
canism into this one channel," he goes on to announce, 
"and for measuring the humanity, patriotism, and 
piety of every man by this one standard. This ques- 
tion can no longer be avoided, and a right decision 
of it will settle the controversy between freedom and 
slavery.* The stern message of Isaiah to the Jews, 
beginning, Hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful 
men that rule this people. Because ye have said, We 
have made a covenant with death and with hell are 


we at agreement," seemed to the American Isaiah to 
describe exactly the character of the National Consti- 
tution. *' Slavery is a combination of death and 
HELL," he declares, with righteous wrath, "and with 
it the North have made a covenant, and are at agree- 
ment. As an element of the Government it is omni- 
potent, omniscient, omnipresent. As a component 
part of the Union, it is necessarily a national interest. 
Divorced from Northern protection, it dies ; with 
that protection it enlarges its boundaries, multiplies 
its victims, and extends its ravages." 

The announcement of this new radicalism caused a 
sensation. Many genuine Garrisonian Abolitionists 
recoiled from a policy of disunion. Lydia Maria 
Child and James S. Gibbon of the Executive Com- 
mittee of the National Society hastened to disavow for 
the society all responsibility for the disunion senti- 
ment of the editor of the Liberator. His new depart- 
ure seemed to them " foreign to the purpose for which 
it was organized." Like all new ideas, it was a sword- 
bearer, and proved a decided disturber of the peace. 
The Union-loving portion of the free States had never 
taken to the Abolition movement, for the reason that 
it tended to disturb the stability of their idol. But 
now the popular hatred of Abolitionism was intensi- 
fied by the avowal of a distinct purpose on the part 
of its leader to labor for the separation of the sec- 
tions. The press of the North made the most of this 
design to render altogether odious the small band of 
moral reformers, to reduce to a nullity their influ- 
ence upon public opinion. 

Notwithstanding its rejection by James Gibbons 
and Lydia Maria Child the new idea of the dissolu- 


tion of the Union, as an anti-slavery object, found in- 
stant favor with many of the leading Abolitionists, 
like Wendell Phillips, Edmund Quincy, Parker Pills- 
bury, Stephen S. Foster and Abby Kelley. At the 
anniversary meeting of the American Society in 1842, 
the subject was mooted, and, although there was no 
official action taken, yet it was apparent that a ma- 
jority of the delegates were favorable to its adoption 
as the sentiment of the society. 

The ultimate object of Garrison was the abolition 
of slavery. Disunion led directly to this goal, there- 
fore he planted his feet in that way. But while he 
shot the agitation at a distant mark, he did not mean 
to miss less remote results. There was remarkable 
method in his madness. He agitated the question 
of the dissolution of the Union " in order that the 
people of the North might be induced to reflect upon 
their debasement, guilt, and danger in continuing in 
partnership with heaven-daring oppressors, and thus 
be led to repentance." 

The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at its 
annual meeting in January, 1843 "dissolved the 
Union," wrote Quincy to R. D. Webb, " by a hand- 
some vote, after a warm debate. The question was 
afterward reconsidered and passed in another shape, 
being wrapped up by Garrison in some of his favorite 
Old Testament Hebraisms by way of vehicle, as the 
apothecaries say. " This is the final shape which 
Garrison's " favorite Old Testament Hebraisms " 
gave to the action of the society : 

" Resolvedy That the compact which exists between 
the North and the South is a covenant with death 
and an agreement with hell — involving both parties 


in atrocious criminality — and should be immediately 

At its tenth anniversary, in 1844, the Ameri- 
can Society resolved likewise chat there should 
be no Union with slaveholders ; and in May of the 
same year the New England Society voted by a large 
majority to dissolve the * covenant with death, and the 
agreement with hell' Almost the whole number of 
the Garrisonian Abolitionists had by this time placed 
upon their banner of immediate emancipation the 
revolutionary legend " No Union with slaveholders." 
Cathago est delenda were now ever on the lips of the 
pioneer. ' The Union it must and shall be destroyed' 
became the beginning, the middle, and the end of all 
his utterances on the slavery question. 

The attitude of the anti-slavery disunionists to the 
Government which they were seeking to overthrow 
was clearly stated by Francis Jackson in a letter re- 
turning to the Governor of Massachusetts his com- 
mission as a justice of the peace. Says he, "To me 
it appears that the vices of slavery, introduced into the 
constitution of our body politic by a few slight 
punctures, has now so pervaded and poisoned the 
whole system of our National Government that liter- 
ally there is no health in it. The only remedy that 
I can see for the disease is to be found in the dissolu- 
tion of the patient. . . . Henceforth it (the Con- 
stitution) is dead to me, and I to it. I withdraw all 
profession of allegiance to it, and all my voluntary 
efforts to sustain it. The burdens that it lays upon 
me, while it is held up by others, I shall endeavor to 
bear patiently, yet acting with reference to a higher 
law, and distinctly declaring that, while I retain my 



own liberty, I will be a party to no compact which 
helps to rob any other man of his." 

The Abolition agitation for the dissolution of the 
Union was assisted not a little by sundry occur- 
rences of national importance. The increasing arro- 
gance and violence of the South in Congress on all 
matters relating to the subject of slavery was one of 
these occurrences. Freedom of debate and the right 
of petition, Southern intolerance had rendered well 
nigh worthless in the National Legislature. In this 
way the North, during several months in every year, 
was forced to look at the reverse and the obverse 
faces of the Union. These object-lessons taught 
many minds, no doubt, to count the cost which the 
preservation of the Union entailed upon the free 
States — to reflect upon their debasement, guilt, and 
danger" in their partnership with slaveholders. An- 
other circumstance which induced to this kind of re- 
flection was the case of George Latimer, who was 
seized as a fugitive slave in Boston in the autumn of 
1842. From beginning to end the Latimer case re- 
vealed how completely had Massachusetts tied her 
own hands as a party to the original compact with 
slavery whose will was the supreme law of the land. In 
obedience to this supreme law Chief-Justice Shaw re- 
fused to the captive the writ of habeas corpuSy and 
Judge Story granted the owner possession of the 
fugitive, and time to procure evidence of his owner- 
ship. But worse still Massachusetts officials and one 
of her jails were employed to aid in the return of a 
man to slavery. This degradation aroused the great- 
est indignation in the State and led to the enactment 
of a law prohibiting its officials from taking part in 


the return of fugitive slaves, and the use of its jails 
and prisons for their detention. The passage of 
this personal liberty measure served to increase the 
activity of the anti-Union working forces in the 

Then, again, the serious difficulty between Massa- 
chusetts and two of the slave States in regard to their 
treatment of her colored seamen aided Garrison in 
his agitation for the dissolution of the Union by the 
keen sense of insult and injury which the trouble 
begat and left upon the popular mind. Colored men 
in Massachusetts enjoyed a fair degree of equality 
before her laws, were endowed with the right to vote, 
and were, barring the prejudice against color, treated 
by the commonwealth as citizens. They were 
employed in the merchant service of her interstate 
trade. But at two of the Southern ports where her 
vessels entered, the colored seamen were seized by the 
local police and confined in houses of detention until 
the vessels to which they belonged were ready to 
depart, when they were released and allowed to join 
the vessels. This was a most outrageous proceeding, 
outrageous to the colored men who were thus deprived 
of their liberty, outrageous also to the owners of the 
vessels who were deprived of the service of their 
employes. Of what avail was the constitutional guar- 
anty that ''the citizens of each State shall be 
entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens 
in the several States, many men began to question ? 
The South was evidently disposed to support only that 
portion of the national compact which sustained the 
slave system, all the rest upon occasion it trampled 
on and nullified. This lesson was enforced anew upon 



Massachusetts by the affair of her colored seamen. 
Unable to obtain redress of the wrong done her citi- 
zens, the State appointed agents to go to Charleston 
and New Orleans and test the constitutionality of the 
State laws under which the local authorities had 
acted. But South Carolina and Louisiana, especially 
the former, to whom Samuel Hoar was accredited, 
evinced themselves quite equal to the exigency to 
which the presence of the Massachusetts agents gave 
rise. To cut a long story short, these gentlemen, 
honored citizens of a sister State, and covered with 
the aegis of the Constitution, found that they could 
make no success of the business which they had in 
hand, found indeed that as soon as that business was 
made public that they stood in imminent peril of 
their lives. Whereupon, wisely conceiving discretion 
to be the better part of valor, they beat a hasty 
retreat back to their native air. The Massachusetts 
agents were driven out of Charleston and New 
Orleans. Where was the sacred and glorious union 
between Massachusetts and South Carolina and Louis- 
iana that such things were possible — were constantly 
occurring ? The circumstance made a strong impres- 
sion on the State whose rights were thus grossly vio- 
lated. It helped to convert Massachusetts to its later 
opposition to slavery, and to make its public senti- 
ment more tolerant of the Garrisonian opposition to 
the covenant with death and the agreement with hell. 

To the agitation growing out of the scheme for the 
annexation of Texas must, however, be ascribed tlie 
premium among all the anti-Union working facts and 
forces of the first few years after Garrison and his 
coadjutors had raised the cry of "No union with 


slaveholders." This agitation renewed the intensity 
and sectionalism of the then almost forgotten strug- 
gle over the admission of Missouri nearly a quarter 
of a century before, and which was concluded by the 
Missouri compromise. This settlement was at the 
time considered quite satisfactory to the South. But 
Calhoun took an altogether different view of the mat- 
ter twenty years later. The arrangement by which 
the South was excluded from the upper portion of 
the Louisiana Territory he came to regard as a cardi- 
nal blunder on the part of his section. The fact is that 
within those two decades the slave-holding had been 
completely outstripped by the non-slave-holding 
States in wealth, population, and social growth. The 
latter had obtained over the former States an indis- 
putable supremacy in those respects. Would not the 
political balance settle also in the natural order of 
things in the Northern half of the Union unless it 
could be kept where it then was to the south of 
Mason and Dixon's line by an artificial political 
make-weight. This artificial political make-weight 
was nothing less than the acquisition of new slave 
territory to supply the demand for new slave States. 
Texas, with the territorial dimensions of an empire, 
answered the agrarian needs of the slave system. And 
the South, under the leadership of Calhoun, deter- 
mined to make good their fancied loss in the settle- 
ment of the Missouri controversy by annexing Texas. 

But all the smouldering dread of slave domination, 
all the passionate opposition to the extension of 
slavery, to the acquisition of new slave territory and 
the admission of new slave States, awoke hotly in 
the heart of the North. No more slave territory." 



No more slave States," resounded during this 
crisis, through the free States. "Texas or dis- 
union," was the counter cry which reverberated 
through the slave States. Even Dr. Channing, who 
had no love for Garrison or his anti-slavery ultraism, 
was so wrought upon by the scheme for the annexa- 
tion of Texas as to profess his preference for the 
dissolution of the Union, " rather than receive Texas 
into the Confederacy." "This measure, besides en- 
tailing on us evils of all sorts," the doctor boldly 
pointed out, " would have for its chief end to bring 
the whole country under the slave-power, to make 
the general Government the agent of slavery ; and 
this we are bound to resist at all hazards. The free 
States should declare that the very act of admitting 
Texas will be construed as a dissolution of the Union." 

The Northern blood was at fever heat, and an 
unwonted defiance of consequences, a fierce contempt 
of ancient political bugaboos marked the utterances 
of men erstwhile timid of speech upon all questions 
relating to slavery. In the anti-Texas conven- 
tion held in Faneuil Hall January 29, 1845, all this 
timidity disappeared in the presence of the new peril. 
It was not a convention of Abolitionists, although Gar- 
rison was a member, but of politicians, mostly of the 
Whig party. " The anti-slavery spirit of the conven- 
tion," wrote Edmund Quincy to R. D. Webb, " was 
surprising. The address and the speeches of the 
gentlemen, not Abolitionists, were such as caused 
Garrison to be mobbed ten years ago, and such as 
we thought thorough three or four years ago. There 
were no qualifications, or excuses, or twaddle.'* 

Garrison flung himself into the anti-Texas move- 


ment with all his customary force and fire. Elected 
a delegate to the Faneuil Hall Convention by the influ- 
ence of Francis Jackson, he took a leading part in its 
proceedings, " created the most stir in the whole mat- 
ter," Wendell Phillips thought. Charles Sumner, 
who heard him speak for the first time, was struck 
with his natural eloquence," and described his 
words as falling " in fiery rain." Again at a mass meet- 
ing for Middlesex County, held at Concord, to consider 
the aggressions of the slave-power, did the words of 
the pioneer fall in fiery rain." Apprehensive that the 
performance of Massachusetts, when the emergency 
arose, would fall far short of her protestations, he 
exclaimed, I have nothing to say, sir, nothing. I 
am tired of words, tired of hearing strong things 
said, where there is no heart to carry them out. 
When we are prepared to state the whole truth, and 
die for it, if necessary — when, like our fathers, we are 
prepared to take our ground, and not shrink from it, 
counting not our lives dear unto us — when we are 
prepared to let all earthly hopes go back to the 
board — then let us say so ; //// then, the less we say 
the better, in such an emergency as this. ' But who 
are we, will men ask.' that talk of such things ? 'Are 
we enough to make a revolution?' No, sir; but we 
are enough to begin one, and, once begun, it never 
can be turned back. I am for revolution were I 
utterly alone. I am there because I must be there. 
I nmst cleave to the right. I cannot choose but obey 
the voice of God. 

"... Do not tell me of our past Union, and for 
how many years we have been one. We were only 
one while we were ready to hunt, shoot down, and 



deliver up the slave, and allow the slave-power to 
form an oligarchy on the floor of Congress ! The 
moment we say no to this, the Union ceases — the 
Government falls." 

The Texan struggle terminated in the usual way, 
in the triumph of the slave-power. Texas was 
annexed and admitted into the sisterhood of States, 
giving to the Southern section increased slave repre- 
sentation in both branches of Congress, and thereby 
aiding to fasten, what at the moment appeared to be 
its permanent domination in national affairs. As 
Garrison had apprehended, the performance of the 
North fell far short of its protestations when the 
crisis came. It swallowed all its brave words, and 
collapsed into feeble and disheartened submission to 
its jubilant and hitherto invincible antagonist. The 
whole North except the small and irrepressible band 
of Garrisonian Abolitionists were cast down by the 
revulsive wave of this disastrous event. Writing to 
his friend Webb, Garrison discourses thus upon the 
great defeat : " Apparently the slave-holding power 
has never been so strong, has never seemed to be so 
invincible, has never held such complete mastery over 
the whole, has never so sucessfully hurled defiance at 
the Eternal and Just One, as at the present time ; and 
yet never has it in reality been so weak, never has it 
had so many uncompromising assailants, never has it 
been so filled with doubt and consternation, never 
has it been so near its downfall, as at this moment. 
Upon the face of it, this statement looks absurdly 
paradoxical ; but it is true, nevertheless. We are 
groping in thick darkness ; but it is that darkest 
hour which is said to precede the dawn of day." 



Garrison was the most dogmatic, as he was the 
most earnest of men. It was almost next to impos- 
sible for him to understand that his way was not the 
only way to attain a given end. A position reached 
by him, he was curiously apt to look upon as a sort 
of ultima thule of human endeavor in that direction of 
the moral universe. And, notwithstanding instances 
of honest self-depreciation, there, nevertheless, hung 
around his personality an air and assumption of 
moral infallibility, as a reformer. His was not a 
tolerant mind. Differences with him he was prone to 
treat as gross departures from principle, as evidences 
of faithlessness to freedom. He fell upon the men 
who did not see eye to eye with him with tomahawk 
and scalping knife. He was strangely deficient in a 
sense of proportion in such matters. His terrible 
severities of speech, he visited upon the slave-power 
and the Liberty party alike. And although a non- 
resistent, in that he eschewed the use of physical 
force, yet there never was born among the sons of 
men a more militant soul in the use of moral force, 
in the quickness with which he would whip out the 
rapiers, or hurl the bolts and bombs of his mother 
tongue at opponents. The pioneer must have been 
an unconscious believer in the annihilation of the 




wicked, as he must have been an unconscious believer 
in the wickedness of all opposition to his idea of 
right and duty. This, of course, must be taken only 
as a broad description of the reformer's character. 
He was a man, one of the grandest America has 
given to the world, but still a man with his tendon of 
Achilles, like the rest of his kind. 

His narrow intolerance of the idea of anti-slavery 
political action, and his fierce and unjust censure of 
the champions of that idea, well illustrate the trait in 
point. Birney and Whittier, and Wright and Gerrit 
Smith, and Joshua Leavitt, he apparently quite forgot, 
were actuated by motives singularly noble, were in 
their way as true to their convictions as he was to his. 
No, there was but one right way, and in that way 
stood the feet of the pioneer. His way led directly, 
unerringly, to the land of freedom. All other ways, 
and especially the Liberty party way, twisted, doubled 
upon themselves, branched into labyrinths of folly 
and self-seeking. " Ho ! all ye that desire the free- 
dom of the slave, who would labor for liberty, follow 
me and I will show you the only true way," was the 
tone which the editor of the Liberator held to men, 
who were battering with might and main to breach 
the walls of the Southern Bastile. They were plainly 
not against the slave, although opposed to Mr. Garri- 
son, narrowly, unjustly opposed to him, without 
doubt, but working strenuously according to their 
lights for the destruction of a common enemy and 
tyrant. This was the test, which Garrison should 
have taken as conclusive. The leaders of the Liberty 
party, though personally opposed to him and to his 
line of action, were, nevertheless, friends of the slaves, 



and ought to have been so accounted and treated by 
^he man who more than any other was devoted to the 
abolition of slavery. 

But the whole mental and moral frame of the man 
precluded such liberality of treatment of oppo'nents. 
They had rejected his way, which was the only true 
way, and were, therefore, anathema maranatha. When 
a moral idea which has been the subject of wide- 
spread agitation, and has thereby gained a numerous 
following, reaches out, as reach out it must, sooner or 
later, for incorporation into law, it will, in a republic 
like ours, do so naturally and necessarily through 
political action — along the lines of an organized party 
movement. The Liberty party formation was the 
product of this strong tendency in America. Prema- 
ture it possibly was, but none the less perfectly nat- 
ural. Now every political party, that is worthy of 
the name, is a compound rather than a simple fact, 
consisteth of a bundle of ideas rather than a single 
idea. Parties depend upon the people for success, 
upon the people not of one interest but of many 
interests and of diversities of views upon public ques- 
tions. One plank is not broad enough to accommo- 
date their differences and multiplicity of desires. 
There must be a platform built of many planks to 
support the number of votes requisite to victory at 
the polls. There will always be one idea or interest 
of the many ideas or interests, that will dominate the 
organization, be erected into a paramount issue upon 
which the party throws itself upon the country, but 
the secondary ideas or interests must be there all the 
same to give strength and support to the main idea 
and interest. 



Besides this peculiarity in the composition of the 
great political parties in America, there is another not 
less distinct and marked, and that is the Constitu- 
tional limitations of the Federal political power. 
Every party which looks for ultimate success at the 
polls must observe strictly these limitations in its aims 
and issues. Accordingly when the moral movement 
against slavery sought a political expression of the 
idea of Abolition it was constrained within the metes 
and bounds set up by the National Constitution. 
Slavery within the States lay outside of the political 
boundaries of the general Government. Slavery within 
the States, therefore, the more sagacious of the Lib- 
erty party leaders placed not among its bundle of 
ideas, into its platform of national issues. But it was 
otherwise with slavery in the District of Columbia, in 
the national territories, under the national flagon the 
high seas, for it lay within the constitutional reach of 
the federal political power, and its abolition was 
demanded in the Third pa'rty platform. These 
leaders were confident that the existence of slavery 
depended upon its connection with the National Gov- 
ernment. Their aim was to destroy the evil by cut- 
ting this connection through which it drew its blood 
and nerve supplies. They planted themselves upon 
the anti-slavery character of the Constitution, believ- 
ing that it " does not sanction nor nationalize slavery 
but condemns and localizes it." 

This last position of the Liberty party leaders 
struck Garrison as a kind of mental and moral 
enormity. At it and its authors, the anti-slavery 
Jupiter, launched his bolts, fast and furious. Here 
is a specimen of his chain lightning: "We have 


a very poor opinion of the intelligence of any 
man, and very great distrust of his candor or 
honesty, who tries to make it appear that no pro- 
slavery compromise was made between the North and 
the South, at the adoption of the Constitution. We 
cherish feelings of profound contempt for the quib- 
bling spirit of criticism which is endeavoring to ex- 
plain away the meaning of language, the design of 
which as a matter of practice, and the adoption of 
which as a matter of bargain, were intelligently and 
clearly understood by the contracting parties. The 
truth is the misnamed * Liberty party ' is under the 
control of as ambitious, unprincipled, and crafty lead- 
ers as is either the Whig or Democratic party; and 
no other proof of this assertion is needed than their 
unblushing denial of the great object of the national 
^compact, namely, union at the sacrifice of the colored 
population of the United States. Their new inter- 
pretations of the Constitution are a bold rejection of 
the facts of history, and a gross insult to the intelli- 
gence of the age, and certainly never can be carried 
into effect without dissolving the Union by provoking 
a civil war." All the same, the pioneer to the contrary 
notwithstanding, many of these very Liberty party 
leaders were men of the most undoubted candor and 
honesty and of extraordinary intelligence. 

Garrison was never able to see the Liberty party, 
and for that matter Wendell Phillips, Edmund 
Ouincy, and others of the old organization leaders 
could not either, except through the darkened glass 
of personal antagonisms growing out of the schism 
of 1840. It was always, under all circumstances, to 
borrow a phrase of Phillips, Our old enemy, Liberty 



party." And, as Quincy naively confesses in an arti- 
cle in the Liberator pointing out the reasons why 
Abolitionists should give to the Free-soil party inci- 
denfal aid and comfort, which were forbidden to their 

old enemy, Liberty party," the significant and 
amusing fact that the latter was " officered by de- 
serters." Ay, there was indeed the rub ! The mili- 
tary principle of the great leader forbade him to 
recognize deserters as allies. Discipline must be 
maintained, and so he proceeded to maintain the 
anti-slavery discipline of his army by keeping up a 
constant fusillade into the ranks of the deserter band, 
who, in turn, were every whit as blinded by the old 
quarrel and separation, and who slyly cherished the 
modest conviction that, when they seceded, the salt 
of old organization lost its savor, and was thenceforth 
fit only to be trampled under the Liberty party's feet. 
Without doubt, those old Abolitionists and Liberty 
party people belonged to the category of " humans." 

The scales of the old grudge dropped from Garri- 
son's eyes directly the Free-Soil party loomed upon 
the political horizon. He recognized at once that, if 
it was not against the slave, it was for the slave; ap- 
prehended clearly that, in so far as the new party, 
which, by the way, was only the second stage in the 
development of the central idea of his old enemy, 
Liberty party, as the then future Republican party 
was to be its third and final expression, apprehended 
clearly I say that, in so far as the new party resisted 
the aggressions and pretensions of the slave-power, it 
was fighting for Abolition — was an ally of Aboli- 

In the summer of 1848, from Northampton, whither 


he had gone to take the water cure, Garrison coun- 
seled Quincy, who was filling the editorial chair, in 
the interim, at the Liberator office, in this sage fash- 
ion : " As for the Free-Soil movement, I feel that great 
care is demanded of us disunionists, both in the 
Standard and the Liberator^ in giving credit to whom 
credit is due, and yet in no case even seeming to be 
satisfied with it." In the winter of 1848 in a letter to 
Samuel May, Jr., he is more explicit on this head. " As 
for the Free-Soil movement," he observes, " I am 
for hailing it as a cheering sign of the times, and an 
unmistakble proof of the progress we have made, 
under God, in changing public sentiment. Those 
who have left the Whig and Democratic parties for 
conscience's sake, and joined the movement, deserve 
our commendation and sympathy ; at the same time, 
it is our duty to show them, and all others, that there 
is a higher position to be attained by them or they 
will have the blood of the slave staining their gar- 
ments. This can be done charitably yet faithfully. On 
the two old parties, especially the Whig-Taylor party, 
I would expend — pro tempore^ at least — our heaviest 
ammunition." This is as it should be, the tone of 
wise and vigilant leadership, the application of the 
true test to the circumstances, viz., for freedom if 
against slavery ; not to be satisfied, to be sure, with 
any thing less than the whole but disposed to give 
credit to whom it was due, whether much or little. 
Pity that the pioneer could not have placed himself 
in this just and discriminating point of view in re- 
spect of his old enemy. Liberty party, praising in it 
what he found praiseworthy, while blaming it for 
what he felt was blameworthy. But perfection weak 



human nature doth not attain to in this terrestrial 
garden of the passions, and so very likely the magna- 
nimity which we have desired of Garrison is not for 
that garden to grow but another and a heavenly. 

Garrison ill brooked opposition, came it from friends 
or foes. He was so confident in his own positions 
that he could not but distrust their opposites. Of 
course, if his were right, and of that doubt in his mind 
there was apparently none, then the positions of all 
others had to be wrong. This masterful quality of 
the man was constantly betrayed in the acts of 
his life and felt by his closest friends and associates 
in the anti-slavery movement. Quincy, writing to 
Richard Webb, narrates how, at the annual meeting 
of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1843, Garri- 
son was for removing it to Boston, but that he and 
Wendell Phillips were for keeping it where it then 
was in New York, giving at the same time sundry 
good and sufficient reasons for the faith that was in 
them, and how, thereupon, Garrison dilated his nos- 
trils like a war-horse, and snuffed indignation at us." 

If the Boston friends were unwilling to take the 
trouble and responsibility," were the petulant, accus- 
ative words put by Quincy into his chief's mouth on 
the occasion, " then there was nothing more to be 
said ; we must try to get along as well as we could in 
the old way." And how they disclaimed " any un- 
willingness to take trouble and responsibility," while 
affirming "the necessity of their acting on their own 

Another characteristic of the pioneer is touched 
upon by the same writer in a relation which he was 
making to Webb of Garrison's election to the presi- 


dency of the parent society. Says Quincy : ''Garri- 
son makes an excellent president at a public meeting 
where the order of speakers is in some measure ar- 
ranged, as he has great felicity in introducing and in- 
terlocuting remarks ; but at a meeting for debate he 
does not answer so well, as he is rather too apt, with 
all the innocence and simplicity in the world, to do 
all the talking himself." 

The same friendly critic has left his judgment of 
other traits of the leader, traits not so much of the 
man as of the editor. It is delivered in a private 
letter of Quincy to Garrison on resigning the tempo- 
rary editorship of the Liberator to " its legitimate 
possessor." who had been for several months health- 
hunting at Northampton in the beautiful Connecticut 
Valley. Quincy made bold to beard the Abolition 
lion in his lair, and twist his tail in an extremely 
lively manner. " Now, my dear friend," wrote the 
disciple to the master, " you must know that to the 
microscopic eyes of its friends, as well as to the tele- 
scopic eyes of its enemies, the Liberator has faults ; 
these they keep to themselves as much as they hon- 
estly may, but they are not the less sensible of them, 
and are all the more desirous to see them immediately 
abolished. Luckily, they are not faults of principle — 
neither moral nor intellectual deficiencies — but faults 
the cure of which rests solely with yourself. 

"I hardly know how to tell you what the faults are 
that we find with it, lest you should think them 
none at all, or else unavoidable. But no matter, of 
that you must be the judge ; we only ask you to lis- 
ten to our opinion. We think the paper often bears 
the mark of haste and carelessness in its getting up ; 


that the matter seems to be hastily selected and put 
in higgledy-piggledy^ without any very apparent reason 
why it should be in at all, or why it should be in the 
place where it is. I suppose this is often caused by 
your selecting articles with a view to connect remarks 
of your own with them, which afterward in your 
haste you omit. Then we complain that each paper 
is not so nearly a complete work in itself as it might 
be made, but that things are often left at loose ends, 
and important matters broken off in the middle. I 
assure you, that Brother Harriman is not the only 
one of the friends of the Liberator who grieves over 
your ' more anon ' and ' more next week * — which 
* anon ' and * next week ' never arrive. . . 

" Then we complain that your editorials are too 
often wanting, or else such, from apparent haste, as 
those who love your fame cannot wish to see ; that 
important topics, which you feel to be such, are too 
often either entirely passed over or very cursorily 
treated, and important moments like the present 
neglected. . . . 

" We have our suspicions, too, that good friends 
have been disaffected by the neglect of their com- 
munications ; but of this we can only speak by con- 
jecture. In short, it appears to those who are your 
warmest friends and the stanchest supporters of the 
paper, that you might make the Liberator a more 
powerful and useful instrumentality than it is, power- 
ful and useful as it is, by additional exertions on 
your part. It is very unpleasant to hear invidious 
comparisons drawn between the Liberator and E?na?ici- 
pator with regard to the manner of getting it up, 
and to have not to deny but to excuse them — ani we 


knowing all the time that you have all the tact and 
technical talent for getting up a good newspaper that 
Leavitt has, with as much more, intellectual ability 
as you have more moral honesty, and only wanting 
some of his (pardon me) industry, application, and 

Garrison, to his honor, did not allow the exceeding 
candor of his mentor to disturb their friendship. 
The pioneer was not wholly without defence to the 
impeachment. He might have pleaded ill health, of 
which he had had quantum suf. since 1836 for himself 
and family. He might have pleaded also the dissipa- 
tion of too much of his energies in consequence of 
more or less pecuniary embarrassments from which 
he was never wholly freed ; but, above all, he might 
have pleaded his increasing activity as an anti-slavery 
lecturer. His contributions to the movement against 
slavery were of a notable character in this direction, 
both in respect of quantity and quality. He was not 
alone the editor of the Liberator, he was unquestion- 
ably besides one of the most effective and interesting 
of the anti-slavery speakers — indeed in the judgment 
of so competent an authority as James Russell 
Lowell, he was regarded as the most effective of the 
anti-slavery speakers. Still, after all is placed to his 
credit that can possibly be, Quincy's complaints 
would be supported by an altogether too solid basis 
of fact. The pioneer was much given to procrastina- 
tion. What was not urgent he was strongly tempted 
to put off for a more convenient time. His work 
accumulated. He labored hard and he accom- 
plished much, but because of this habit of postponing 
for to-morrow what need not be done to-day, he was 



necessarily forced to leave undone many things which 
he ought to have done and which he might have 
accomplished had he been given to putting off for 
to-morrow nothing which might be finished to-day. 

The pioneer was a man of sorrows and acquainted 
with grief, but never was he wholly cast down by his 
misfortunes. His cheerful and bouyant spirit kept 
him afloat above his sorrows, above his griefs. The 
organ of mirthfulness in him was very large. He 
was an optimist in the best sense of that word, viz., 
that all things work together for good to them that 
love goodness. In the darkest moments which the 
Abolition cause encountered his own countenance was 
full of light, his own heart pierced through the 
gloom and communicated its glow to those about 
him, his own voice rang bugle-like through reverse 
and disaster. 

In his family the reformer was seen at his best. 
His wife was his friend and equal, his children his 
playfellows and companions. The dust of the great 
conflict he never carried with him into his home to 
choke the love which burned ever brightly on its 
hearth and in the hearts which it contained. What 
he professed in the Liberator^ what he preached in 
the world, of non-resistance, woman's rights, perfec- 
tionism, he practiced in his home, he embodied as 
father, and husband, and host. Never lived reformer 
who more completely realized his own ideals to 
those nearest and dearest to him than William Lloyd 

He had seven children, five boys and two girls. 
The last, Francis Jackson, was born to him in the 
year 1S48 Two of them died in childhood, a boy 


and a girl. The loss of the boy, whqm the father 
had named admiringly, gratefully, reverently," 
Charles Follen, was a terrible blow to the reformer, 
and a life-long grief to the mother. He seemed to 
have been a singularly beautiful, winning, and affec- 
tionate little man and to have inspired sweet hopes 
of future usefulness and excellence" in the breasts 
of his parents. " He seemed born to take a century 
on his shoulders, without stooping ; his eyes were 
large, lustrous, and charged with electric light ; his 
voice was clear as a bugle, melodious, and ever ring- 
ing in our ears, from the dawn of day to the ushering 
in of night, so that since it has been stilled, our dwell- 
ing has seemed to be almost without an occupant," 
lamented the stricken father to Elizabeth Pease, of 
Darlington, England. 

" Death itself to me is not terrible, is not repulsive," 
poured the heartbroken pioneer into the ears of his 
English friend, is not to be deplored. I see in it as 
clear an evidence of Divine wisdom and beneficence 
as I do in the birth of a child, in the works of crea- 
tion, in all the arrangements and operations of nature. 
I neither fear nor regret its power. I neither expect 
nor supplicate to be exempted from its legitimate 
action. It is not to be chronicled among calamities ; 
it is not to be styled "a mysterious dispensation of 
Divine Providence "; it is scarcely rational to talk of 
being resigned to it. For what is more rational, what 
more universal, what more impartial, what more ser- 
viceable, what more desirable, in God's own time, 
hastened neither by our ignorance or folly ? . . . 

" When, therefore, my dear friend, I tell you that 
the loss of my dear boy has overwhelmed me with 



sadness, has affected my peace by day and my repose 
by night, has been a staggering blow, from the shock 
of which I find it very difficult to recover, you will 
not understand me as referring to anything pertain- 
ing to another state of existence, or as gloomily affec- 
ted by a change inevitable to all ; far from it. Where 
the cherished one who has been snatched from us is, 
what is his situation, or what his employment, I 
know not, of course ; and it gives me no anxiety 
whatever. Until I join him at least my responsibility 
to him as his guardian and protector has ceased ; he 
does not need my aid, he cannot be benefited by my 
counsel. That he will still be kindly cared for by 
Him who numbers the very hairs of our heads, and 
without whose notice a sparrow cannot fall to the 
ground ; that he is still living, having thrown aside 
his mortal drapery, and occupying a higher sphere of 
existence, I do not entertain a doubt. My grief 
arises mainly from the conviction that his death was 
premature ; that he was actually defrauded of his 
life through unskillful treatment ; that he might have 
been saved, if we had not been so unfortunately situ- 
ated at that time. This to be sure, is not certain ; 
and not being certain, it is only an ingredient of con- 
solation that we find in our cup of bitterness." 

The pioneer was one of the most generous of givers. 
Poor indeed he was, much beyond the common allot- 
ment of men of his intelligence and abilities, but he 
was never too indigent to answer the appeals of 
poverty. If the asker's needs were greater than his 
own he divided with him the little which he had. To 
his home all sorts of people were attracted, Abolition- 
ists, peace men, temperance reformers, perfectionists, 



homoeopathists, hydropathists, mesmerists, spiritual- 
ists, Grahamites, clairvoyants, whom he received with 
unfailing hospitality, giving welcome and sympathy 
to the new ideas, food and shelter for the material 
sustenance of the fleshly vehicles of the new ideas. 
He evidently was strongly of the opinion that there 
are " more things in heaven and earth than are 
dreamt of" in the philosophy of any particular period 
in the intellectual development of man. No age 
knows it all. It was almost a lo, here, and a lo, 
there, with him, so large was his bump of wonder, so 
unlimited was his appetite for the incredible and the 
improbable in the domain of human knowledge and 
speculation. Great was the man's faith, great was 
his hope, great was his charity. 

He was one of the most observant of men in all 
matters affecting the rights of others; he was one of 
the least observant in all matters appertaining to him- 
self. With a decided taste for dress, yet his actual 
knowledge of the kind of clothes worn by him from 
day to day was amusingly inexact, as the following 
incident shows: Before wearing out an only pair of 
trousers, the pioneer had indulged in the unusual lux- 
ury of a new pair. But as there was still considerable 
service to be got out of the old pair, he, like a prudent 
man, laid aside the new ones for future use. His 
wife, however, who managed all this part of the do- 
mestic business, determined, without consulting him, 
the morning when the new trousers should be donned. 
She made the necessary changes when her lord was 
in bed, putting the new in the place of the old. Gar- 
rison wore for several days the new trousers, thinking 
all the time that they were his old ones until his illu- 



sions in this regard were dispelled by an incident 
which cost him the former. Some poor wretch of a 
tramp, knocking in an evil hour at the pioneer's door 
and asking for clothes, decided the magnificent pos- 
sessor of two pairs of trousers, to don his new ones 
and to pass the old ones on to the tramp. But when 
he communicated the transaction to his wife, she 
hoped, with a good deal of emphasis, that he had not 
given away the pair of breeches which he was wear- 
ing, for if he had she would beg to inform him that 
he had given away his best ones ! But the pioneer's 
splendid indifference to 7neu7n and tuum where his own 
possessions were concerned was equal to the occasion. 
He got his compensation in the thought that his loss 
was another's gain. That, indeed, was not to be ac- 
counted loss which had gone to a brother-man whose 
needs were greater than his own. 



Garrison's forecast of the future, directly after the 
annexation of Texas, proved singularly correct. 
Never, as at that moment, had the slave-power 
seemed so secure in its ascendency, yet never, at any 
previous period, was it so near its downfall. Freedom 
had reached that darkest hour just before dawn; and 
this, events were speedily to make clear. If the South 
could have trammeled up the consequences of annexa- 
tion, secure, indeed, for a season, would it have held 
its political supremacy in America ? But omnipotent 
as was the slave-power in the Government, it was not 
equal to this labor. In the great game, in which 
Texas was the stakes, Fate had, unawares, slipped into 
the seat between the gamesters with hands full of 
loaded dice. At the first throw the South got Texas, 
at the second the war with Mexico fell out, and at 
the third new national territory lay piled upon the 

Calhoun, the arch-annexationist, struggled desper- 
ately to avert the war. He saw as no other Southern 
leader saw its tremendous significance in the conflict 
between the two halves of the Union for the political 
balance. The admission of Texas had made an ad- 
justment of this balance in favor of the South. Cal- 
houn's plan was to conciliate Mexico, to sweep with 




our diplomatic broom the gathering war-clouds from 
the national firmament. War, he knew, would im- 
peril the freshly fortified position of his section — war 
which meant at its close the acquisition of new na- 
tional territory, with which the North would insist 
upon retrieving its reverse in the controversy over 
Texas. War, therefore, the great nullifier resolved 
against. He cried halt to his army, but the army 
heard not his voice, heeded not his orders, in the wild 
uproar and clamor which arose at the sight of help- 
less Mexico, and the temptation of adding fresh slave 
soil to the United States South, through her spolia- 
tion. Calhoun confessed that, with the breaking out 
of hostilities between the two republics an impene- 
trable curtain had shut from his eyes the future. The 
great plot for maintaining the political domination of 
the South had miscarried. New national territory 
had become inevitable with the firing of the first gun. 
Seeing this, Calhoun endeavored to postpone the evil 
day for the South by proposing a military policy of 
" masterly inactivity" whereby time might be gained 
for his side to prepare to meet the blow when it fell. 
But his " masterly inactivity" policy was swept aside 
by the momentum of the national passion which 
the war had aroused. 

California and New Mexico became the strategic 
points of the slavery struggle at the close of the war. 
To open both to the immigration of slave-labor was 
thenceforth the grand design of the South. Over 
Oregon occurred a fierce preliminary trial of strength 
between the sections. The South was thrown in the 
contest, and the anti-slavery principle of the Ordi- 
nance of 1787 applied to the Territorv Calhoun, 



who was apparently of the mind that as Oregon went 
so would go California and New Mexico, was violently 
agitated by this reverse. " The great strife between 
the North and the South is ended," he passionately 
declared. Immediately the charge was made and 
widely circulated through the slave States that the 
stronger was oppressing the weaker section, wresting 
from it its just share in the common fruits of common 
victories. For had not California and New Mexico 
been won by the bravery and blood of the South as 
of the North, and how then was the North to deprive 
the South of its joint ^ownership of them without 
destroying the federal equality of the two halves of 
the Union ? What was it but to subvert the Union 
existing among the States ? 

Disunion sentiment was thenceforth ladled out to 
the slave States in increasing quantities. The turn- 
ing of the long lane in the domination of the slave- 
power was visibly near. With Garrison at one end and 
Calhoun at the other the work of dissolution advanced 
apace. The latter announced, in 1848, that the sepa- 
ration of the two sections was complete. Ten years 
before. Garrison had made proclamation that the 
Union, though not in form, was, nevertheless, in fact 
dissolved. And possibly they were right. The line 
of cleavage had at the date of Calhoun's announce- 
ment passed entirely through the grand strata of 
national life, industrial, moral, political, and religious. 
There remained indeed but a single bond of connec- 
tion between the slave-holding and the non-slave- 
holding States, viz., fealty to party. But in 1848 
not even this slender link was intact. 

The anti-slavery uprising was a fast growing factor 



in the politics of the free States. This was evinceo 
by the aggressiveness of anti-slavery legislation, the 
repeal of slave sojournment laws, the enactment of 
personal liberty laws, the increasing preference mani- 
fested by Whig and by Democratic electors for anti- 
slavery Whig, and anti-slavery Democratic leaders. 
Seward and Chase, and Hale and Hamlin, Thaddeus 
Stevens and Joshua R. Giddings, were all in Congress 
in 1849. A revolution was working in the North ; a 
revolution was working in the South. New and 
bolder spirits were rising to leadership in both sec- 
tions. On the Southern stage were Jefferson Davis, 
Barnwell Rhett, David Atchison, Howell Cobb, 
Robert Toombs, and James M. Mason. The outlook 
was portentous, tempestuous. 

The tide of excitement culuminated in the crisis 
of 1850. The extraordinary activity of the under- 
ground railroad system, and its failure to open the 
national Territories to slave immigration had trans- 
ported the South to the verge of disunion. California, 
fought over by the two foes, was in the act of with- 
drawing herself from the field of contention to a 
position of independent Statehood. It was her rap 
for admission into the Union as a free State which pre- 
cipitated upon the country the last of the compromises 
between freedom and slavery. It sounded the open- 
ing of the final act of Southern domination in the 

The compromise of 1850, a series of five acts, three 
of which it took to conciliate the South, while two 
were considered sufficient to satisfy the North, was, 
after prolonged and stormy debate, adopted to save 
Webster's glorious Union. These five acts were, in 



the agonized accents of Clay, to heal "the five fire- 
gaping wounds " of the country. But the wounds 
were immedicable, as events were soon to prove. 
Besides, two at least of the remedies failed to operate 
as emollients. They irritated and inflamed the 
national ulcers and provoked fresh paroxysms of the 
disease. The admission of California as a free State 
was a sort of perpetual memento mori to the slave- 
power. It hung forever over the South the Damo- 
clean blade of Northern political ascendency in the 
Union. The fugitive slave law on the other hand 
produced results undreamt of by its authors. Who 
would have ventured to predict the spontaneous, irre- 
sistible insurrection of the humane forces and passions 
of the North which broke out on the passage of the 
infamous bill ? Who could have foretold the moral 
and political consequences of its execution, for in- 
stance, in Boston, which fifteen years before had 
mobbed anti-slavery women and dragged Garrison 
through its streets? The moral indignation aroused 
by the law in Massachusetts swept Webster and the 
Whigs from power, carried Sumner to the Senate and 
crowned Liberty on Beacon Hill. It worked a rev- 
olution in Massachusetts, it wrought changes of the 
greatest magnitude in the free States. 

From this time the reign of discord became uni- 
versal. The conflict between the sections increased 
in virulence. At the door of every man sat the fierce 
figure of strife. It fulmined from the pulpit and 
frowned from the pews. The platforms of the free 
States resounded with the thunder of tongues. The 
press exploded with the hot passions of the hour. 
Parties warred against each other. Factions arose 



within parties and fought among themselves with no 
less bitterness. Wrath is infectious and the wrathful 
temper of the nation became epidemic. The Ishmael- 
itish impulse to strike something or someone, was 
irresistible. The bonds which had bound men to one 
another seemed everywhere loosening, and people in 
masses were slipping away from old to enter into 
new combinations of political activity. It was a pe- 
riod of tumultuous transition and confusion. The 
times were topsy-turvy and old Night and Chaos were 
the angels who sat by the bubbling abysses of the 

In the midst of this universal and violent agitation 
of the public mind the old dread of disunion returned 
to torment the American bourgeoisie^ who through 
their presses, especially those of the metropolis of the 
Union, turned fiercely upon the Abolitionists. While 
the compromise measures were the subject of excited 
debate before Congress, the anniversary meeting of 
the American Anti-Slavery Society fell due. But the 
New York journals, the Herald in particular, had no 
mind to allow the meeting to take place without 
renewing the reign of terror of fifteen years before. 
Garrison was depicted as worse than Robespierre, with 
an insatiable appetite for the destruction of established 
institutions, both human and divine. The dissolu- 
tion of the Union, the "overthrow of the churches, 
the Sabbath, and the Bible," all were required to glut 
his malevolent passion. " Will the men of sense allow 
meetings to be held in this city which are calculated 
to make our country the arena of blood and murder," 
roared the Herald^ " and render our city an object of 
horror to the whole South ? . . . Public opinion 


should be regulated. These Abolitionists should not 
be allowed to misrepresent New York." In order to 
suppress the Abolitionists that paper did not blink at 
any means, however extreme or revolutionary, but 
declared boldly in favor of throttling free discussion. 
" When free discussion does not promote the public 
good," argued the editor, " it has no more right to 
exist than a bad government that is dangerous and 
oppressive to the common weal. It should be over- 
thrown." The mob thus invoked came forward on 
the opening of the convention to overthrow free dis- 

The storm which the New York press was at so 
much labor to brew. Garrison did not doubt would 
break over the convention. He went to it in a truly 
apostolic spirit of self-sacrifice. " Not knowing the 
things that shall befall me there, saving that bonds 
and afflictions abide with me in every city," he wrote 
his wife an hour before the commencement of the 
convention. His prevision of violence was quickly 
fulfilled. He had called Francis Jackson to the chair 
during the delivery of the opening speech which fell 
to the pioneer to make as the president of the society. 
His subject was the Religion of the Country, to which 
he was paying his respects in genuine Garrisonian 
fashion. Belief in Jesus in the United States had no 
vital influence on conduct or character. The chief 
religious denominations were in practice pro-slavery, 
they had uttered no protest against the national sin. 
There was the Roman Catholic Church whose "priests 
and members held slaves without incurring the rebuke 
of the Church." At this point the orator was inter- 
rupted by one of those monstrous products of the 



slums of the American metropolis, compounded of the 
bully, the blackleg, and the demagogue in about 
equal proportions. It was the notorious Captain 
Isaiah Rynders, perched with his band of black- 
guards in the organ loft of the tabernacle and ready 
to do the will of the metropolitan journals by over- 
throwing the right of free discussion. He was not dis- 
posed to permit Mr. Garrison's censure of the Roman 
Catholic Church to pass unchallenged, so he begged 
to ask " whether there are no other churches as well as 
the Catholic Church, whose clergy and lay members 
hold slaves ? " To which the anti-slavery leader 
replied with the utmost composure, not inclined to 
let even Captain Rynders interrupt the even and 
orderly progression of his discourse : " Will the 
friend wait for a moment, and I will answer him in 
reference to other churches ? " The friend " there- 
upon resumed his seat in the organ loft, and Garrison 
proceeded with his indictment of the churches. There 
was the Episcopal Church, whose clergy and laity 
dealt with impunity in human flesh, and the Presby- 
terians, whose ministers and members did likewise 
without apparently any compunctious visitings of 
conscience, ditto the Baptist, ditto the Methodist. In 
fact "all the sects are combined," the orator sternly 
continued, " to prevent that jubilee which it is the 
will of God should come." 

But the bully in the organ loft, who was not con- 
tent for long to play the part of Patience on a monu- 
ment, interrupted the speaker with a second question 
which he looked upon, doubtless, as a hard nut to 
crack. Are you aware," inquired the blackleg 
" that the slaves in the South have their prayer- 



meetings in honor of Christ?" The nut was quickly 
crushed between the sharp teeth of the orator's scath- 
ing retort. Mr. Garrison — Not a slave-holding or 
a slave-breeding Jesus. (Sensation.) The slaves be- 
lieve in a Jesus that strikes off chains. In this coun- 
try Jesus has become obsolete, A profession in him 
is no longer a test. Who objects to his course in 
Judaea ? The old Pharisees are extinct, and may 
safely be denounced. Jesus is the most respectable 
person in the United States. (Great sensation and 
murmurs of disapprobation.) Jesus sits in the Presi- 
dent's chair of the United States. (A thrill of horror 
here seemed to run through the assembly.) Zachary 
Taylor sits there, which is the same thing, for he be- 
lieves in Jesus. He believes in war, and the Jesus 
that ' gave the Mexicans hell.* " (Sensation, uproar, 
and confusion.) 

This rather sulphurous allusion to the President of 
the glorious Union, albeit in language used by him- 
self in a famous order during the Mexican War, acted 
as a red rag upon the human bull in the organ loft, 
who, now beside himself with passion, plunged madly 
down to the platform with his howling mob at his 
heels. I will not allow you to assail the President of 
the United States. You shan't do it !" bellowed the 
blackguard, shaking his fist at Mr. Garrison. But 
Mr. Garrison, with that extraordinary serenity of 
manner which was all his own, parleyed with the 
ruffian, as if he was no ruffian and had no mob at his 
back. "You ought not to interrupt us," he remon- 
strated with gentle dignity. " We go upon the prin- 
ciple of hearing everybody. If you wish to speak, I 
will keep order, and you shall be heard." Rynders 



was finally quieted by the offer of Francis Jackson to 
give him a hearing as soon as Mr. Garrison had 
brought his address to an end. 

Rev. W. H. Furness, of Philadelphia, who was a 
member of the convention and also one of the speak- 
ers, has preserved for us the contrasts of the occasion. 
" The close of Mr. Garrison's address," says he, 
" brought down Rynders again, who vociferated and 
harangued at one time on the platform, and then 
pushing down into the aisles, like a madman followed 
by his keepers. Through the whole, nothing could 
be more patient and serene than the bearing of Mr. 
Garrison. I have always revered Mr. Garrison for 
his devoted, uncompromising fidelity to his great 
cause. To-day I was touched to the heart by his 
calm and gentle manners. There was no agitation, 
no scorn, no heat, but the quietness of a man engaged 
in simple duties." 

The madman and his keepers were quite vanquished 
on the first day of the convention by the wit, repar- 
tee, and eloquence of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Fur- 
ness, and Rev. Samuel R. Ward, whom Wendell Phil- 
lips described as so black that " when he shut his eyes 
you could not see him." But it was otherwise on the 
second day when public opinion was regulated," 
and free discussion overthrown by Captain Rynders 
and his villainous gang, who were resolved, with the 
authors of the compromise, that the Union as it was 
should be preserved. 

But, notwithstanding the high authority and 
achievements of this noble band of patriots and 
brothers, Garrison's detestation of the Union but 
increased, and his cry for its dissolution grew deeper 



and louder. And no wonder. For never had the 
compact between freedom and slavery seemed more 
hateful than after the passage of the Fugitive Slave 
Bill. The state of panic which it created among the 
colored people in the free States will form, if ever 
written down, one of the most heartrending chapters 
in human history. Hundreds and thousands fled 
from their homes into the jaws of a Canadian winter 
to escape the jaws of the slave-hounds, whose fierce 
baying began presently to fill the land from Massa- 
chusetts to Ohio. It made no difference whether 
these miserable people had been always free or were 
fugitives from slavery, the terror spread among 
them all the same. The aged and the young turned 
their backs upon their homes and hurried precipi- 
tately into a strange country. Fathers with wives 
and children dependant upon them for their daily 
bread, were forced by the dread of being captured 
and returned to bondage to abandon their homes 
and loved ones, sometimes without so much as a 
touch of their hands or a tone of their voices in 
token of farewell. Perhaps on his way to work in 
the morning some husband or son has caught a 
glimpse among the faces on the street of one face, 
the remembrance of which to the day of death, 
he can never lose, a face he had known in some far 
away Southern town or plantation, and with which 
are connected in the poor fellow's brain the most 
frightful sufferings and associations. Crazed at the 
sight, with no thought of home, of the labors which 
are awaiting him, oblivious of everything but the 
abject terror which has suddenly taken possession of 
him, he hastens away to hide and fly, fly and hide, until 



he reaches a land where slave-hounds enter not, and 
panting fugitives find freedom. Wendell Phillips 
tells of an old woman of seventy who asked his 
advice about flying, though originally free, and fear- 
ful only of being caught up by mistake. The dis- 
tress everywhere was awful, the excitement inde- 
scribable. From Boston alone in the brief space of 
three weeks after the rescue of Shadrach, nearly a 
hundred of these panic-stricken creatures had fled. 
The whole number escaping into Canada Charles 
Sumner placed as high as six thousand souls. But 
in addition to this large band of fugitives, others 
emigrated to the interior of New England away from 
the seaboard centers of trade and commerce where 
the men-hunters abounded. 

The excitement and the perils of this period were 
not confined to the colored people. Their white 
friends shared both with them. We are indebted to Mr. 
Phillips for the following graphic account of these 
excitements and perils in Boston in March, 185 1. 
He has been describing the situation in the city, in 
respect of the execution of the infamous law, to 
Elizabeth Pease, and goes on thus : I need not 
enlarge on this ; but the long evening sessions — 
debates about secret escapes — plans to evade where we 
can't resist — the door watched that no spy may enter — • 
the whispering consultations of the morning — some 
putting property out of their hands, planning to 
incur penalties, and planning also that, in case of 
conviction, the Government may get nothing from 
them — the doing, and answering no questions — 
intimates forbearing to ask the knowledge which it 
may be dangerous to have — all remind one of those 



foreign scenes which have hitherto been known to us, 
transatlantic republicans, only in books." 

On the passage of the Black Bill, as the Abolition- 
ists stigmatised the law, it was not believed that the 
moral sentiment of Boston would execute it, so hor- 
rified did the community seem. But it was soon ap- 
parent to the venerable Josiah Quincy that " The 
Boston of 1851 is not the Boston of 1775. Boston," 
the sage goes on to remark, " has now become a 
mere shop — a place for buying and selling goods; 
and, I suppose, also of buying and selling men ^ The 
great idol of her shopkeepers, Daniel Webster, 
having striven mightily for the enactment of the 
hateful bill while Senator of the United States, had 
gone into Millard Fillmore's Cabinet, to labor yet 
more mightily for its enforcement. The rescue of 
Shadrach, which Mr. Secretary of State character- 
ized "as a case of treason," set him to thundering 
for the Union as it was, and against the "fanatics," 
who were stirring up the people of the free States 
to resist the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. 
But he was no longer "the God-like" Webster, for 
he appeared to the editor of the Liberator as " an 
ordinary-looking, poor, decrepit old man, whose limbs 
could scarce support him; lank with age; whose 
sluggish legs were somewhat concealed by an over- 
shadowing abdomen; with head downcast and arms 
shriveled, and dangling almost helpless by his side, 
and incapable of being magnetized for the use of 
the orator." The voice and the front of " the God- 
like" had preceded the "poor decrepit old man" to 
the grave. Garrison dealt no less roughly and irrev- 
erently with another of the authors of the wicked 



law and another of the superannuated divinities of a 
shopkeeping North, Henry Clay. " Henry Clay, 
with one foot in the grave," exclaimed the reformer, 
" and just ready to have both body and soul cast into 
hell, as if eager to make his damnation doubly sure, 
rises in the United States Senate and proposes an 
inquiry into the expediency of passing yet another 
law, by which every one who shall dare peep or 
mutter against the execution of the Fugitive Slave Bill 
shall have his life crushed out." 

In those trial times words from the mouth or the 
pen of Abolitionists had the force of deadly missiles. 
Incapacitated as Garrison was to resort to physical 
resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law by his non- 
resistant doctrine, it seemed that all the energy and 
belligerency of the man went into the most tremen- 
dous verbal expressions. They were like adamantine 
projectiles flung with the savage strength of a catapult 
against the walls of slavery. The big sinners, like Web- 
ster and Clay, he singled out for condign punishment, 
were objects of his utmost severities of speech. It was 
thus that he essayed to breach the iron dungeon in 
which the national iniquity had shut the national con- 
science. Saturated was the reformer's mind with the 
thought of the Bible, its solemn and awful imagery, 
its fiery and prophetic abhorrence and denunciations 
of national sins, all of which furnished him an un- 
failing magazine whence were drawn the bolts which 
he launched against the giant sin and the giant sin- 
ners of his time. And so Clay had not only one 
foot in the grave," but was just ready to have both 
body and soul cast into hell." 

While physical resistance of the Slave Law was 



wholly out of the question with Garrison, he, never- 
theless, refused to condemn the men with whom it 
was otherwise. Here he was anything but a fanatic. 
All that he required was that each should be consis- 
tent with his principles. If those principles bade him 
resist the enforcement of the Black Bill, the apostle 
of non-resistance was sorry enough, but in this emer- 
gency, though he possessed the gentleness of the 
dove, he also practised the wisdom of the serpent. 
That truth moves with men upon lower as well as 
higher planes he well knew. It is always partial and 
many-colored, refracted as it is through the prisms 
of human passion and prejudice. If it appear unto 
some minds in the red bar of strife and blood, so be 
it. Each must follow the light which it is given him 
to discern, whether the blue of love or the red of 
war. Great coadjutors, like Wendell Phillips, Theo- 
dore Parker, and Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, were for 
forcible resistance to the execution of the law. So 
were the colored people. Preparations to this end 
went on vigorously in Boston under the direction of 
the Vigilance Committee. The Crafts escaped the 
clutches of the slave-hunters, so did Shadrach escape 
them, but Sims and Burns fell into them and were 
returned to bondage. 

From this time on Wendell Phillips became in Bos- 
ton and in the North more distinctly the leader of the 
Abolition sentiment. The period of pure moral agi- 
tation ended with the passage of the Fugitive Slave 
Law. That act opened a new era in the movement, an 
era in which non-resistance had no place, an era in 
which a resort to physical force in settlement of 
sectional differences, the whole trend of things were 


making inevitable. Fighting, the Anglo-Saxon 
method, as Theodore Parker characterized it, of mak- 
ing a final settlement of just such controversies as 
was the slavery question, was in the air, had become 
without any general consciousness of it at the time 
appearing in the popular mind, a foregone conclus- 
ion, from the moment that the South wrested from 
the National Government the right to defy and 
override the moral sentiment of free State com- 
munities. With this advance of the anti-slavery 
agitation a stage nearer the end, when fightmg would 
supersede all other methods, the fighters gravitated 
naturally to the front of the conflict, and the apostle 
of non-resistance fell somewhat into the background 
of the great movement started by him. 

Garrison had begun, indeed, to recognize that there 
were other ways besides his way of abolishing slav- 
ery — had begun to see that these with his led to Rome, 
to the ultimate extinction of the evil, to which anti- 
slavery unionists and disunionists were alike de- 
voted. His innate sagacity and strong sense of jus- 
tice lifted the reformer to larger toleration of mind. 
At a dinner given in Boston in May, 1853, by the Free 
Democracy to John P. Hale, he was not only present 
to testify his appreciation of the courage aud services 
of Mr. Hale to the common cause, but while there 
was able to speak thus tolerantly — tolerantly for him 
certainly — of a Union dear to the company about the 
table yet hateful beyond measure to himself : " Sir, 
you will pardon me," spoke the arch anti-slavery dis- 
unionist, " for the reference. I have heard something 
here about our Union, about the value of the Union, 
and the importance of preserving the Union. Gen- 


tiemen, if you have been so fortunate as to find a 
Union worth preserving, I heartily congratulate you. 
Cling to it with all your souls ! " For himself, he has 
not been so fortunate. With a price set on his head in 
one of the Southern States, and outlawed in all of 
them, he begs to be pardoned if found lacking in 
loyalty to the existing Union, which to him, alas, : "is 
but another name for the iron reign of the slave-power. 
We have no common country as yet. God grant we 
may have. We shall have it when the jubilee comes — 
and not till then," he declared, mindful of the convic- 
tions of others, yet bravely true to his own. The seeds 
of liberty, of hatred of the slave-power, planted by 
Garrison were springing up in a splendid crop through 
the North. Much of the political anti-slavery of the 
times were the fruit of his endeavor. Wendell Phil- 
lips has pointed out how the Liberty party was bene- 
fited by the meetings and speeches of Garrisonian 
Abolitionists. What was true of the Liberty party 
was equally true of Free Soil and Free Democracy. 
Although the little band remained small, it was po- 
tent in swelling, year after year, the anti-slavery mem- 
bership of all the parties. Whig and Democratic, as 
well as of those already mentioned. "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin " might fairly be classed among the large in- 
direct results produced by Garrison. " But " as Phil- 
lips justly remarked, Uncle Tom' would never 
have been written had not Garrison developed the 
facts ; and never would have succeeded had he not 
created readers and purchasers." Garrisonism had 
become an influence, a power that made for liberty 
and against slavery in the United States. It had be- 
come such also in Great Britain. George Thompson, 


writing the pioneer of the marvelous sale of " Uncle 
Tom " in England, and of the unprecedented demand 
for anti-slavery literature, traced their source to his 
friend: "Behold the fruit of your labors," he ex- 
claimed, "and rejoice." 

Mr. Garrison's pungent characterization of the 
" Union " at the dinner of the Free Democracy as 
" but another name for the iron reign of the slave- 
power," found almost instant illustration of its truth 
in the startling demand of that power for the repeal 
of the Missouri Compromise. In 1850 the South lost 
California, but it received at the time an advantage 
of far-reaching consequence, viz., the admission of 
the principle of federal non-intervention upon the 
subject of slavery in the national Territories into the 
bill organizing Territorial Governments for New Mex- 
ico and Utah. The train which was to blow down 
the slave wall of 1820 and open to slave immigration 
the northern half of the Louisiana Territory, was laid 
in the compromise measures of 1850. 

Calhoun, strongly dissatisfied as he was with the 
Missouri settlement, recoiled from countenancing any 
agitation on the part of the South looking to its 
repeal on the ground that such action was calculated 
to disturb *'the peace and harmony of the Union." 
But four years after the death of the great nuUifier, 
his disciples and followers dared to consummate a 
crime, the consequences of which he shrank from 
inviting. The political conditions four years had 
indeed modified in one important particular at least. 
In Calhoun's lifetime, there was no Northern leader 
bold enough to undertake to engineer an act of abro- 
gation through Congress. If the North were willing, 



possessed sufficient magnanimity, to surrender, in the 
interest of brotherly love between the sections, the 
benefits which inured to it under the Missouri Com- 
promise, neither Calhoun nor the South would have 
declined the proffered sacrifice. The selection of 
Stephen A. Douglas in 1854 as the leader of the 
movement for repeal put a new face on the business, 
which was thereby made to appear to proceed from 
the free, not from the slave States. This was 
adroit, the fixing upon the losing section the initia- 
tive and the responsibility of the act of abroga- 

Besides this element, there was another not less 
specious which lent to the scheme an air of fairness, 
and that was the application to the Territories of the 
American principle of local self-government, in other 
words, the leaving to the people of the Territories the 
right to vote slavery up or vote it down, as they 
might elect. The game was a deep one, worthy of 
the machinations of its Northern and Southern 
authors. But, like other elaborate schemes of mice 
and men, it went to pieces under the fatal stroke of 
an unexpected circumstance. The act which abro- 
gated the Missouri Compromise broke the much- 
enduring back of Northern patience at the same 
time. In the struggle for the repeal Southern Whigs 
and Southern Democrats forgot their traditionary 
party differences in battling for Southern interests, 
which was not more or less than the extension to 
the national Territories of the peculiar institution. 
The final recognition of this ugly fact on the part of 
the free States, raised a popular flood in them big 
enough to whelm the Whig party and to float a great 



political organization, devoted to uncompromising 
opposition to the farther extension of slavery. The 
sectionalism of slavery was at last met by the section- 
alism of freedom. From that moment the old Union, 
with its slave compromises, was doomed. In the 
conflict then impending its dissolution was merely 
a matter of time, unless indeed the North should 
prove strong enough to preserve it by the might of its 
arms, seeing that the North still clung passionately to 
the idea of national unity. 

Not so, however, was it with Garrison. Sharper 
and sterner rose his voice against any union with 
slaveholders. On the Fourth of July following the 
repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the reformer at 
Framingham, Mass., gave a fresh and startling sign 
of his hatred of the Union by burning publicly the 
Constitution of the United States. Before doing so 
however, he consigned to the flames a copy of the 
Fugitive Slave Law, next the decision of Judge Lor- 
ing remanding Anthony Burns to slavery, also the 
charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the Grand 
Jury touching the assault upon the court-house for the 
rescue of Burns. Then holding up the United States 
Constitution, he branded it as the source and parent 
of all the other atrocities — a covenant with death 
and an agreement with hell — and consumed it to 
ashes on the spot, exclaiming, So perish all com- 
promises with tyranny ! And let all the people say, 
Amen ! " This dramatic act and the " tremendous 
shout " which " went up to heaven in ratification of 
the deed" from the assembled multitude, what were 
they but the prophecy of a fiercer fire already burn- 
ing in the land, soon to blaze about the pillars of the 



Union, of a more tremendous shout soon to burst 
with the wrath of a divided people over that 

" perfidious bark 
Built i' th' eclipse, and rigged with curses dark." 




Face to face at last were freedom and slavery. 
The final struggle between them for mastery had 
come. Narrow, indeed, was the issue that divided 
the combatants, slavery extension on the one side, 
and slavery restriction on the other, not total and 
immediate emancipation, but it was none the less 
vital and supreme to the two enemies. Back of the 
Southern demand for More slave soil " stood a solid 
South, back of the Northern position, " No more slave 
soil " was rallying a fast uniting North. The political 
revolution, produced by the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 
advanced apace through the free States from Maine 
to Michigan. A fiood-tide of Northern resistance 
had suddenly risen against the slave-power. 

Higher than anywhere else rose this flood-tide in 
Massachusetts. The judge who remanded Anthony 
Burns to slavery was removed from office, and a Per- 
sonal Liberty Law, with provisions as bold as they 
were thorough, enacted for the protection of fugitive 
slaves. Mr. Garrison sat beside the President of the 
State Senate when that body voted to remove Judge 
Loring from his office. Such was Massachusetts's 
answer to the abrogation of the Missouri Compro- 
mise, and a triumphant slave-power. Its instant 




effect was to accelerate in the South the action of the 
disunion working forces there, to hurry the inevi- 
table moment when the two sections would rush 
together in a death-grapple within or without Web- 
ster's once glorious Union. 

Indeed the foes had already closed in a frightful 
wrestle for the possession of Kansas. When the 
National Government adopted the popular sover- 
eignty doctrine in solution of the Territorial problem 
between the two halves of the Union, freedom and 
slavery thereupon precipitated their forces upon the 
debatable land, and, for the first time, the men of the 
North and the men of the South came into actual 
physical collision in defence of their respective ideas 
and institutions. The possession of land is nine 
points of the law among Anglo-Saxons, and for this 
immense advantage both sides flung themselves into 
Kansas — the North by means of emigrant aid socie- 
ties, the South by means of bands of Border ruffians 
under the direction of a United States Senator. It 
was distinctly understood and ordained in connection 
with the repeal of the compromise of 1820, that final 
possession of the Territories then thrown open to 
slave labor should be determined by the people 
inhabiting the same. In the contest for peopling 
Kansas the superior colonizing resources of the free 
States was presently made manifest. They, in any 
fair contest with ballots, had a majority of the polls, 
and were, therefore, able to vote slavery down. 
Worsted as the South clearly was in a show of heads, 
it threw itself back upon fraud and force to decide 
the issue in its favor. The cartridge-box took the 
place of the ballot-box in bleeding Kansas, and vio- 



lence and anarchy, as a consequence, reigned therein 
for the space of several years. 

This is no place to depict those scenes of slave-hold- 
ing outrages, supported as they were by a Northern 
President with Southern principles. The sight of 
them rapidly changed the pacific character of the 
free States. Many a peace man dropped his peace 
principles before this bloody duel between the civili- 
zation of the South and that of the North. Ministers 
and churches took up collections to send, not Bibles, 
but Sharp's rifles to their brethren in Kansas. The 
South had appealed to the sword, and the North had 
sternly accepted the challenge. War was in the air, 
and the Northern temper, without there being any 
general consciousness of it, was fast mounting to the 
war point in the thermometer of the passions, thanks 
to the perfidy and ruffianism of the slave-power in 
Congress and Kansas. 

This trend and strong undertow of the nation 
toward a civil outbreak and commotion, though 
unnoted by the multitude, was yet, nevertheless, seen 
and felt by many thoughtful and far-seeing minds ; 
and by no one more clearly than by T. W. Higgin- 
son, who at the twentieth .anniversary of the Boston 
mob, discoursed thus on this head: "Mr. Phillips 
told us that on this day, twenty years ago, the mili- 
tary could not protect the meeting, because the guns 
were outside in the mob — or the men who should 
have carried them ! There has been a time since 
when the men were on the outside and the guns too ; 
and as surely as this earth turns on its axis, that time 
will come again ! And it is for you, men, who 
hear me, to think what you will do when that time 



comes ; and it is for you, women, who hear me, to 
think what you will do, and what you are willing — I 
will not say, to consent that those you love should do, 
but what you are willing to urge them to do, and to 
send them from your homes, knowing that they will 
do it, whether they live or die." The murderous 
assault upon Charles Sumner in the Senate Chamber 
at Washington by Preston S. Brooks, served to in- 
tensify the increasing belligerancy of the Northern 
temper, to deepen the spreading conviction that the 
irrepressible conflict would be settled not with the 
pen through any more fruitless compromises, but in 
Anglo-Saxon fashion by blood and iron. 

Amid this general access of the fighting pro- 
pensity. Garrison preserved the integrity of his non- 
resistant principles, his aversion to the use of physical 
force as an anti-slavery weapon. Men like Charles 
Stearns talked of shouldering their Sharp's rifles 
against the Border ruffians as they would against wild 
beasts. For himself, he could not class any of his 
fellow-creatures, however vicious and wicked, on the 
same level with wild beasts. Those wretches were, 
he granted, as bad and brutal as they were repre- 
sented by the free State men of Kansas, but to him 
they were less blameworthy than were their employ- 
ers and indorsers, the pro-slavery President and his 
Cabinet, pro-slavery Congressmen, and judges, and 
doctors of divinity, and editors. Incomparably guilty 
as these " colossal conspirators against the liberty, 
peace, happiness, and safety of the republic " were ; 
and, though his moral indignation against their 
treasonable course" burned like fire, he, nevertheless, 
wished them no harm. He shrank from the idea of 



the physical collision of man with jl brother man, 
and with him all mankind were brothers. No one is 
able to draw a sword or point a rifle at any member 
of the human family, "in a Christian state of mind." 
He held to Jesus, who condemned violence, forbade 
the entertainment by his disciples of retaliatory feel- 
ings and the use of retaliatory weapons. When Jesus 
said " Love your enemies," he did not mean, " Kill 
them if they go too far." 

Garrison's moral radicalism and political sagacity 
were never exhibited to better advantage than during 
these tremendous years of the crisis. He saw the 
sudden rise of a great political organization opposed 
to the farther extension of slavery to national terri- 
tory. It was by no means a party after his heart, and 
for total and immediate emancipation, and the disso- 
lution of the Union, yet he perceived that while this 
was true, it was, nevertheless, in its narrow purpose, 
battling against the slave-power, fighting the slave 
system, and to this extent was worthy of the commen- 
dation of Abolitionists. It helps to disseminate no 
small amount of light and knowledge," the reformer 
acutely observed, " in regard to the nature and work- 
ings of the slave system, being necessitated to do 
this to maintain its position ; and thus, for the time 
being, it is moulding public sentiment in the right 
direction, though with no purpose to aid us in the 
specific work we are striving to accomplish, namely, 
the dissolution of the Union, and the abolition of 
slavery throughout the land." While bating no jot 
of his anti-slavery principles, he all the same put in 
practice the apostolic injunction to give credit to 
whom credit is due, by cordially commending what 


he found worthy of commendation in the purpose 
and policy of the Republican party, and by urging a 
like conduct upon his followers. In the Presidential 
canvass of 1856 his sympathies went strongly with 
Fremont as against Buchanan and Fillmore, although 
his Abolition principles precluded him from voting 
for the Republican candidate or from urging his dis- 
ciples to vote for him. But, barring this moral bar- 
rier, had he *'a million votes to bestow" he "would 
cast them all for Fremont . . . not because he is an 
Abolitionist or a Disunionist . . . but because he is 
for the non-extension of slavery, in common with the 
great body of the people of the North, whose attach- 
ment to the Union amounts to idolatry." 

When the election was over the motto of the Liber- 
ator was still " No union with slaveholders," and 
would have remained the same though Fremont in- 
stead of Buchanan had triumphed at the polls, until 
indeed the domination of the slave-power had ended, 
and the North and the National Constitution had 
been divorced from all criminal connection with slav- 
ery. The anti -slavery agitation for the dissolution of 
the Union went on with increased zeal. A State con- 
vention, called by T. W. Higginson and others, " to 
consider the practicability, probability, and expedi- 
ency of a separation between the free and slave States, 
and to take such other measures as the condition of the 
times may require," met at Worcester, Mass., Janu- 
ary 15, 1857, with Frank W. Bird in the chair, and 
William Lloyd Garrison among the vice-presidents. 
The pioneer's speech on the occasion was a character- 
istic and noteworthy utterance. Its tone throughout 
was grave and argumentative. Here is a specimen 



of it, and of the way in which he met the most seri- 
ous objection to the Abolition movement for disunion : 
" The air is filled with objections to a movement of this 
kind. I am neither surprised nor disquieted at this. 
One of these is of a very singular nature, and it is 
gravely urged that it is conclusive against disunion. 
It is to this effect : We must remain in the Union 
because it would be inhuman in us to turn our backs 
upon millions of slaves in the Southern States, and to 
leave them to their fate ! Men who have never been 
heard of in the anti-slavery ranks, or who are ever 
submitting to a compromise of principle, have their 
bowels wonderfully moved all at once with sympathy 
for the suffering slave ! Even our esteemed friend, 
Theodore Parker (who deals in no cant) says, in his 
letter, that he cannot consent to cut himself off from 
the slave population. Now, we who are engaged in 
this movement claim to be equally concerned for the 
liberation of the slave. If we have not yet proved our 
willingness to suffer the loss of all things, rather than 
turn and flee, God knows that we are prepared to 
bear any new cross that He, in His Providence, may 
be disposed to lay upon us. For one, I make no pa- 
rade of my anxiety for the deliverance of those in bon- 
dage ; but I do say that it strikes me as remarkable 
that those who, for a quarter of a century, have borne 
the heat and burden of the day, should have the im- 
putation cast upon them of intending to leave four 
millions of slaves in their chains, by seeking the over- 
throw of this Union ! . . . 

"... I declare that this talk of leaving the slave 
to his fate is not a true representation of the case ; 
and it indicates a strange dullness of comprehension 


with regard to our position and purpose. What ! Is 
it to forsake the slave when I cease to be the aider 
and abettor of his master ? What ! When the North 
is pressing down upon four millions of slaves like an 
avalanche, and we say to her, ' Take off that pressure 
— stand aside— give the slave a chance to regain his 
feet and assert his freedom ! ' is that turning our 
backs upon him ? Here, for example, is a man en- 
gaged in highway robbery, and another man is acting 
as an accessory, without whose aid the robber cannot 
succeed. In saying to the accomplice. * Hands off ! 
Don't aid the villain ! ' shall I be told that this is en- 
abling the highwayman to rob with impunity ? What 
an absurdity ! Are we not trying to save the pockets 
of all travelers from being picked in seeking to break 
up all connection with highway robbery ?" 

The convention projected a general convention of 
the free States to consider the subject, and '•'Re- 
solved^ That the sooner the separation takes place, 
the more peaceful it will be; but that peace or war is 
a secondary consideration in view of our present perils. 
Slavery must be conquered, peaceably if we can, for- 
cibly if we must." The projected general convention, 
owing to the monetary crisis of 1857, did not take 
place; but the extraordinary public excitement on 
the slavery question increased rather than diminished 
during the year. The increasing menace to the domi- 
nation of the slave-power from this source had be- 
come so great that it was deemed prudent on the 
part of the upholders of that power to allay it by 
means of an authoritative utterance upon the vexed 
question of slavery in the national Territories from 
the highest judicial tribunal in the Imd. The North- 



ern respect for the opinion of the Supreme Court, the 
South and her allies in the free States counted upon 
as the vehicle of the quieting medicament. For, if 
the Missouri Compromise were pronounced by that 
Court unconstitutional and, therefore, ab initio^ null 
and void, no wrong was done the North through its 
formal repeal by Congress. The act of abrogation, 
in this view, added nothing to the South which did 
not belong to it as well before as after its passage, 
detracted nothing from the North which was justly 
its due in the premises. In pursuance of this cun- 
ningly devised scheme the Supreme Court delivered 
itself of an opinion in the famous " Dred Scott Case." 
So abhorrent it was to the intelligence and moral sense 
of the free States, that it produced results altogether 
opposed to those designed by the men who invoked 
it. Instead of checking, the execrated judgment 
augmented enormously the existing excitement. Gar- 
rison's bitter taunt that the Union is but another 
name for the iron reign of the slave-power," was 
driven home to the North, by the Dred Scott decision, 
with the logic of another unanswerable fact. Con- 
fidence in the independence and impartiality of the 
Supreme Court was seriously shaken, and widespread 
suspicion struck root at the North touching the sub- 
serviency of that tribunal to the interests and designs 
of the slave-power. 

The popular agitation at this fresh and alarming 
evidence of the purpose and power of the South upset 
the machinations of the schemers, swelled the numeri- 
cal strength of the new Northern party opposed to 
the Territorial aggressions and pretensions of the 
slave section. So rapid was the growth of the Re- 


publican party that the slave leaders anticipated its 
accession to power at the then next Presidential elec- 
tion. So certain were they in their forebodings of de- 
feat that they set about in dead earnest to put their 
side of the divided house in order for the impending 
struggle for Southern independence. Military prepa- 
rations went forward with a vengeance, arms and 
munitions of war which were the property of the 
General Government began to move southward, to 
Southern military depots and posts for the defence of 
the United States South, when at last the word 
" Disunion " should be pronounced over the Re- 
public. The Lincoln-Douglass debate augmented 
everywhere the excitement, fed the already mighty 
numbers of the new party. More and more the pub- 
lic consciousness and conviction were squaring with 
Mr. Lincoln's oracular words in respect that the 
Union could not " endure permanently half slave and 
half free." 

The darkness and tumult of the rising tempest 
were advancing apace, when suddenly there burst 
from the national firmanent the first warning peal of 
thunder, and over Virginia there sped the first bolt of 
the storm. John Brown with his brave little band, 
at Harper's Ferry, had struck for the freedorn of the 
slave. Tired of words, the believer in blood and iron 
as a deliverer, had crossed from Pennsylvania into 
Virginia on the evening of October i6, 1859, and 
seized the United States Armory at Harper's Ferry. 
Although soon overpowered, captured, tried, and 
hanged for his pains by the slave-power, the martyr had 
builded better than he knew. For the blow struck by 
him then and there ended almost abruptly the period 



of argument and ushered in the period of arms. The 
jar from that battle-ax at the roots of the slave sys- 
tem hurled together in a death struggle right and 
wrong, freedom and slavery, in the republic. 

This attempt on the part of John Brown to liberate 
the slaves seemed to Garrison " misguided, wild, and 
apparently insane, though disinterested and well- 
intended." On non-resistant grounds he deplored 
this use of the sword to effect emancipation, and con- 
demned the leader. But, judging him according to 
the standard of Bunker Hill and the men of 1776, he 
did not doubt that Brown deserved to be held in 
grateful and honorable remembrance to the latest pos- 
terity, by all those who glory in the deeds of a Wal- 
lace or Tell, a Washington or Warren." 

The raid of Brown and his subsequent execution, 
and their reception at the North revealed how vast 
was the revolution in public sentiment on the slavery 
question which had taken place there, since the 
murder of Lovejoy, eighteen years before. Lovejoy 
died defending the right of free speech and the 
liberty of the press, yet the Attorney-General of 
Massachusetts declared that "he died as the fool 
dieth." Brown died in an invasion of a slave State, 
and in an effort to emancipate the slaves with a band 
of eighteen followers, and he was acclaimed, from one 
end of the free States to the other, hero and martyr. 
Mr. Garrison commenting on this immensely signifi- 
cant fact, acutely and justly observed that : " The 
sympathy and admiration now so widely felt for him, 
prove how marvelous has been the change affected in 
public opinion during the thirty years of moral 
agitation — a change so great indeed, that whereas, 


ten years since, there were thousands who could not 
endure my lightest word of rebuke of the South, they 
can now easily swallow John Brown whole and his 
rifle into the bargain. In firing his gun, he has 
merely told us what time of day it is. It is high noon, 
thank God ! " 

But there is another circumstance hardly less sig- 
nificant of another change at the North even more 
momentous than the one just noted. 

On December 2d, the day on which Brown was 
hung, solemn funeral observances were held through- 
out the North by Abolitionists. At the great meet- 
ing in Boston, held in Tremont Temple, and presided 
over by Samuel E. Sewall, Garrison inquired as to the 
number of non-resistants who were present. To this 
question there came a solitary reply. There was but 
one non-resistant beside himself in the hall. Where 
were his followers ? Why had they forsaken their 
principles ? The tide of Northern belligerency, which 
was everywhere rising to its flood, everywhere rush- 
ing and mounting to the tops of those dams which 
separate war and peace had swept away his fol- 
lowers, had caused them to forsake their principles. 
True to their Anglo-Saxon instinct, they had re- 
verted to the more human, if less Christian method 
of cutting the Gordian knot of the republic with the 

The irresistible drift of the North toward the point 
where peace ends and war begins, which that solitary 
" I " at the John Brown meeting denoted, was still 
further indicated by what appeared not wholly unlike 
a change in Mr. Garrison's attitude on the same sub- 
ject. His non-resistant position was the same, but 




somehow his face seemed to turn warward too, with 
the rest of the nation, in the following passage taken 
from his address at that John Brown meeting : 

Nevertheless, I am a non-resistant," said he, 
speaking to that solitary confession of non-resistance 
principles, and I not only desire, but have labored 
unremittingly to effect the peaceful abolition of slav- 
ery, by an appeal to the reason and conscience of the 
slaveholder ; yet, as a peace man, an ultra peace 
man, I am prepared to say : Success to every slave 
insurrection at the South, and in every slave country. 
And I do not see how I compromise or stain my peace 
profession in making that declaration. Whenever 
there is a contest between the oppressed and the 
oppressor, the weapons being equal between the par- 
ties, God knows that my heart must be with the 
oppressed, and always against the oppressor. There- 
fore, whenever commenced, I cannot but wish success 
to all slave insurrections. . . . Rather than see men 
wearing their chains, in a cowardly and servile spirit, 
I would as an advocate of peace, much rather see them 
breaking the head of the tyrant with their chains. 
Give me, as a non-resistant. Bunker Hill, and Lex- 
ington, and Concord, rather than the cowardice and 
servility of a Southern slave plantation." 

The unmistakable signs of disintegration, the swift 
action of the national tragedy, the Charleston Con- 
vention, the disruption of the Democratic party, the 
last bond between the North and the South, filled 
the heart of the pioneer with solemn joy. Only 
think of it ! " he exulted at the anniversary of the 
American Anti-Slavery Society in New York, May 8, 
i860 ; "only think of it ! the party which has for so 


many years cried out, ' There must be no agitation on 
this subject ' is now the most agitated of all the 
parties in the country. The party which declares that 
there ought not to be any sectionalism as against 
slavery, has now been sundered geographically, and 
on this very question ! The party which had said, 
' Let discussions cease forever,* is busily engaged in 
the discussion, so that, possibly, the American Anti- 
Slavery Society might adjourn sine die, after we get 
through with our present meetings, and leave its work 
to be carried on in the other direction !" This was all 
true enough. The sections were at last sundered, 
and a day of wrath was rising dark and dreadful over 
" States dissevered, discordant, belligerent." 



The triumph of the Republican party at the polls 
was the signal for the work of dissolution to begin. 
Webster's terrific vision of " a land rent with civil 
feuds " became reality in the short space of six 
weeks after Lincoln's election, by the secession of 
South Carolina from the Union. Quickly other 
Southern States followed, until a United States South 
was organized, the chief stone in the corner of the 
new political edifice being Negro slavery. It was not 
six weeks after the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, 
when the roar of cannon in Charleston Harbor an- 
nounced to the startled country that war between the 
States had begun. The first call of the new Presi- 
dent for troops to put down the rebellion and to save 
the Union, and the patriotic uprising which it evoked 
made it plain that the struggle thus opened was to 
be nothing less than a death-grapple between the two 

Before the attack on Fort Sumter, Garrison was 
opposed to coercing the rebel States back into the 
Union. He admitted the Constitutional power of 
the National Government to employ force in main- 
taining the integrity of the Republic. " The Federal 
Government must not pretend to be in actual opera- 
tion, embracing thirty-four States," the editor of the 



Liberator commented, " and then allow the seceding 
States to trample upon its flag, steal its property, and 
defy its authority with impunity ; for it would then 
be (as it is at this moment) a mockery and a laughing- 
stock. Nevertheless to think of whipping the South 
(for she will be a unit on the question of slavery) into 
subjection, and extorting allegiance from millions of 
people at the cannon's mouth, is utterly chimerical. 
True, it is in the power of the North to deluge her 
soil with blood, and inflict upon her the most terrible 
sufferings ; but not to conquer her spirit, or change 
her determination." 

He, therefore, proposed that " the people of the 
North should recognize the fact that the Union is dis- 
solved, and act accordingly. They should see, in 
the madness of the South, the hand of God, liberat- 
ing them from * a covenant with death' and an 'agree- 
ment with hell,* made in a time of terrible peril, and 
without a conception of its inevitable consequences, 
and which has corrupted their morals, poisoned their 
religion, petrified their humanity as towards the mill- 
ions in bondage, tarnished their character, harassed 
their peace, burdened them with taxation, shackled 
their prosperity, and brought them into abject 

It is not to be wondered at that Garrison, under 
the circumstances, was for speeding the South rather 
than obstructing her way out of the Union. For 
hardly ever had the anti-slavery cause seen greater 
peril than that which hung over it during the months 
which elapsed between Lincoln's election and the 
attack on Sumter, owing to the paralyzing apprehen- 
sions to which the free States fell a prey in view of the 



then impending disruption of their glorious Union. 
Indeed no sacrifice of anti-slavery accomplishments, 
policy, and purpose of those States were esteemed too 
important or sacred to make, if thereby the dissolu- 
tion of the Union might be averted. Many, Republi- 
cans as well as Democrats, were for repealing the 
Personal Liberty Laws, and for the admission of 
New Mexico as a State, with or without slavery, for 
the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, for sup- 
pressing the right of free speech and the freedom of 
the press on the subject of slavery, and for surrender- 
ing the Northern position in opposition to the exten- 
sion of slavery to national Territories, in order to 
placate the So'ith and keep it in the Union. Noth- 
ing could have possibly been more disastrous to the 
anti-slavery movement in America than a Union 
saved on the terms proposed by such Republican 
leaders as Willian H. Seward, Charles Francis Adams, 
Thomas Corwin, and Andrew G. Curtin. The Union, 
under the circumstances, was sure death to the slave, 
in disunion lay his great life-giving hope. There- 
fore his tried and sagacious friend was for sacrificing 
the Union to win for him freedom. 

As the friends of the Union were disposed to haggle 
at no price to preserve it, so was Garrison disposed 
to barter the Union itself in exchange for the aboli- 
tion of slavery. " Now, then, let there be a Conven- 
tion OF THE Free States," he suggested, "called to 
organize an independent government on free and 
just principles ; and let them say to the slave States : 
Though you are without excuse for your treason- 
able conduct, depart in peace ! Though you have 
laid piratical hands on property not your own, we 



surrender it all in the spirit of magnanimity ! And 
if nothing but the possession of the Capitol will 
appease you, take even that without a struggle ! Let 
the line be drawn between us where free institutions 
end and slave institutions begin ! " 

But the thunder of the rebel guns in Charleston 
Harbor wrought in the reformer a complete revolu- 
tion in this regard. In the tremendous popular up- 
rising which followed that insult to the national 
flag he perceived that the old order with its com- 
promises and dispositions to agree to anything, to do 
anything for the sake of preserving the Union had 
passed away forever. When it was suggested as an 
objection to his change of base that the Adminis- 
tration is endeavoring to uphold the Union, the Con- 
stitution, and the Laws, even as from the formation 
of the Government," he was not for a moment de- 
ceived by its apparent force, but replied sagely that 
** this is a verbal and technical view of the case." 

Facts are more potential than words," he remarked 
with philosophic composure, and events greater 
than parchment arrangements. The truth is, the 
old Union is non est inventus^ and its restoration, with 
its pro-slavery compromises, well-nigh impossible. 
The conflict is really between the civilization of 
freedom and the barbarism of slavery — between the 
principles of democracy and the doctrines of absolu- 
tism — between the free North and the man-imbruting 
South ; therefore, to this extent hopeful for the cause 
of impartial liberty." 

With the instinct of wise leadership, he adjusted 
himself and his little band of Abolitionists, as far as 
he was able, to the exigencies of the revolution. In 



his madness there was always remarkable method. 
When the nation was apathetic, dead on the subject 
of slavery, he used every power which he possessed 
or could invent to galvanize it into life. But with the 
prodigious excitement which swept over the free 
States at the outbreak of the war. Garrison saw that 
the crisis demanded different treatment. Abolition- 
ists and their moral machinery he felt should be with- 
drawn, for a season at least, from their conspicuous 
place before the public gaze, lest it happen that they 
should divert the current of public opinion from the 
South to themselves, and thus injure the cause of 
the slave. He accordingly deemed it highly ex- 
pedient that the usual anniversary of the American 
Anti-Slavery Society, held in New York, ought, 
under the circumstances, to be postponed, coming 
as it would but a few weeks after the attack on 
Sumter, and in the midst of the tremendous loyal 
uprising against the rebels. This he did, adding, by 
way of caution, this timely counsel: " Let nothing be 
done at this solemn crisis needlessly to check or divert 
the mighty current of popular feeling which is now 
sweeping southward with the strength and impetu- 
osity of a thousand Niagaras, in direct conflict with 
that haughty and perfidious slave-power which has 
so long ruled the republic with a rod of iron, for its 
own base and satanic purposes." 

The singular tact and sagacity of the pioneer in 
this emergency may be again seen in a letter to Oliver 
Johnson, who was at the time editing the Anti-Slavery 
Standard. Says the pioneer : Now that civil war 
has begun, and a whirlwind of violence and excite- 
ment is to sweep through the country, every day in- 



creasing in interest until its bloodiest culmination, it 
is for the Abolitionists to * stand still and see the sal- 
vation of God,' rather than to attempt to add any- 
thing to the general commotion. It is no time for 
minute criticism of Lincoln, Republicanism, or even 
the other parties, now that they are fusing, for a 
death-grapple with the Southern slave oligarchy; for 
they are instruments in the hands of God to carry 
forward and help achieve the great object of emanci- 
pation for which we have so long been striving. . . 
We need great circumspection and consummate 
wisdom in regard to what we may say and do under 
these unparalleled circumstances. We are rather, for 
the time being, to note the events transpiring than 
seek to control them. There must be no needless 
turning of popular violence upon ourselves by any 
false step of our own." 

The circumspection, the tact, and sagacity which 
marked his conduct at the beginning of the rebellion 
characterized it to the close of the war, albeit at no 
time doing or saying aught to compromise his anti- 
slavery principle of total and immediate emancipa- 
tion. On the contrary, he urged, early and late, upon 
Congress and the President the exercise of the war 
power to put an end for ever to slavery. Radical 
Abolitionists like Stephen S. Foster were for denying 
to the Administration anti-slavery support and coun- 
tenance, and for continuing to heap upon the Gov- 
ernment their denunciations until it placed itself 
" openly and unequivocally on the side of freedom," 
by issuing the edict of emancipation. Against this 
zeal without discretion Garrison warmly protested. 
" I cannot say that I do not sympathize with the Gov- 



ernment," said he, " as against Jefferson Davis and 
his piratical associates. There is not a drop of blood 
in my veins, both as an Abolitionist and a peace man, 
that does not flow with the Northern tide of senti- 
ment; for I see, in this grand uprising of the man- 
hood of the North, which has been so long groveling 
in the dust, a growing appreciation of the value of 
liberty and free institutions, and a willingness to 
make any sacrifice in their defence against the bar- 
baric and tyrannical power which avows its purpose, 
if it can, to crush them entirely out of existence. 
When the Government shall succeed (if it shall suc- 
ceed) in conquering a peace, in subjugating the South, 
and shall undertake to carry out the Constitution as 
of old, with all its pro-slavery compromises, then will 
be my time to criticise, reprove, and condemn ; then 
will be the time for me to open all the guns that I 
can bring to bear upon it. But blessed be God that 

* covenant with death' has been annulled, and that 

* agreement with hell * no longer stands. I joyfully 
accept the fact, and leave all verbal criticism until a 
more suitable opportunity." 

But it must be confessed that at times during the 
struggle, Lincoln's timidity and apparent indifference 
as to the fate of slavery, in his anxiety to save the 
Union, weakened Garrison's confidence in him, and 
excited his keenest apprehensions at the possibility 
of the war terminating without the utter extinction 
of slavery, by a new and more atrocious compromise 
on the part of the North than any that has yet been 
made." The pioneer therefore adjudged it prudent 
to get his battery into position and to visit upon the 
President for particular acts, such as the revocation 



of anti-slavery orders by sundry of his generals in the 
field, and upon particular members of his Cabinet 
who were understood to be responsible for the shuffl- 
ing, hesitating action of the Government in its rela- 
tion to slavery, an effective fire of criticism and 

Nevertheless Mr. Garrison maintained toward the 
Government a uniform tone of sympathy and moder- 
ation. I hold," said he, in reply to strictures of Mr. 
Phillips upon the President at the annual meeting of 
the Massachusetts Society in 1862; I hold that it is 
not wise for us to be too microscopic in endeavoring 
to find disagreeable and annoying things, still less to 
assume that everything is waxing worse and worse, 
and that there is little or no hope." He himself was full 
of hope which no shortcomings of the Government 
was able to quench. He was besides beginning to 
understand the perplexities which beset the adminis- 
tration, to appreciate the problem which confronted 
the great statesman who was at the head of the 
nation. He was getting a clear insight into the work- 
mgs of Lincoln's mind, and into the causes which 
gave to his political pilotage an air of timidity and 

Supposing Mr. Lincoln could answer to-night,'* 
continued the pioneer in reply to his less patient and 
hopeful coadjutors, and we should say to him : 
* Sir, with the power in your hands, slavery being the 
cause of the rebellion beyond all controversy, why 
don't you put the trump of jubilee to your lips, and 
proclaim universal freedom ? ' — possibly he might 
answer : * Gentlemen, I understand this matter quite 
as well as you do. I do not know that I differ in 



opinion from you ; but will you insure me the sup- 
port of a united North if I do as you bid me ? Are all 
parties and all sects at the North so convinced and so 
united on this point that they will stand by the Gov- 
ernment ? If so, give me the evidence of it, and I will 
strike the blow. But, gentlemen, looking over the 
entire North, and seeing in all your towns and cities 
papers representing a considerable, if not a formid- 
able portion of the people, menacing and bullying the 
Government in case it dared to liberate the slaves, 
even as a matter of self-preservation, I do not feel 
that the hour has yet come that will render it safe for 
the Government to take that step.* I am willing to 
believe that something of this kind weighs in the 
mind of the President and the Cabinet, and that there 
is some ground for hesitancy as a mere matter of 
political expediency." This admirable and discrim- 
inating support of the President finds another capital 
illustration in weighty words of his in answer to ani- 
madversions of Prof. Francis W. Newman, of Eng- 
land, directed against Mr. Lincoln. Says Garrison : 

In no instance, however, have I censured him (Lin- 
coln) for not acting upon the highest abstract princi- 
ples of justice and humanity, and disregarding his 
Constitutional obligations. His freedom to follow 
his convictions of duty as an individual is one thing — 
as the President of the United States, it is limited by 
the functions of his office, for the people do not elect 
a President to play the part of reformer or philan- 
thropist, nor to enforce upon the nation his own 
peculiar ethical or humanitary ideas without regard 
to his oath or their will." 

Great indeed was the joy of the pioneer when Pres- 



ident Lincoln on January i, 1863, issued his Emanci- 
pation Proclamation. The same sagacious and states- 
manlike handling of men and things distinguished 
his conduct after the edict of freedom was made as 
before. When the question of Reconstruction was 
broached in an administrative initiative in Louis- 
iana, the President gave great offence to the more 
radical members of his party, and to many Abolition- 
ists by his proposal to readmit Louisiana to Statehood 
in the Union with no provision for the extension of 
the suffrage to the negro. This exhibition of the 
habitual caution and conservatism of Mr. Lincoln 
brought upon him a storm of criticism and re- 
monstrances, but not from Garrison. There was 
that in him which appreciated and approved the 
evident disposition of the President to make haste 
slowly in departing from the American principle of 
local self-government even in the interest of liberty. 
Then, too, he had his misgivings in relation to the vir- 
tue of the fiat method of transforming chattels into 
citizens. " Chattels personal may be instantly trans- 
lated from the auction-block into freemen," he re- 
marked in defence of the administrative policy in the 
reconstruction of Louisiana, but when were they 
ever taken at the same time to the ballot-box, and in- 
vested with all political rights and immunities ? Ac- 
cording to the laws of development and progress it is 
not practicable. . . . Besides, I doubt whether he has 
the Constitutional right to decide this matter. Ever 
since the Government was organized, the right of suf- 
frage has been determined by each State in the Union 
for itself, so that there is no uniformity in regard to it. 
. . , In honestly seeking to preserve the Union, it 



is not for President Lincoln to seek, by a special 
edict applied to a particular State or locality, to do 
violence to a universal rule, accepted and acted upon 
from the beginning till now by the States in their in- 
dividual sovereignty. . . . Nor, if the freed blacks 
were admitted to the polls by Presidential fiat do I 
see any permanent advantage likely to be secured by 
it ; for, submitted to as a necessity at the outset, as 
soon as the State was organized and left to manage 
its own affairs, the white population with their supe- 
rior intelligence, wealth, and power, would unques- 
tionably alter the franchise in accordance with their 
prejudices, and exclude those thus summarily brought 
to the polls. Coercion would gain nothing." A very 
remarkable prophecy, which has since been exactly 
fulfilled in the Southern States. Garrison, however, 
in the subsequent struggle between Congress and Mr. 
Lincoln's successor over this selfsame point in its 
wider relation to all of the Southern States, took 
sides against Andrew Johnson and in favor of the Con- 
gressional fiat method of transforming chattels per- 
sonal into citizens. The elimination of Abraham Lin- 
coln from, and the introduction of Andrew Johnson 
upon the National stage at this juncture, did un- 
doubtedly effect such a change of circumstances, as 
to make the Congressional fiat method a political nec- 
essity. It was distinctly the less of two evils which 
at the moment was thrust upon the choice of the 
Northern people. 

The same breadth and liberality of view, which 
marked his treatment of Mr. Lincoln upon the sub- 
ject of emancipation and of that of reconstruction, 
marked his treatment also of other questions which 



the suppression of the rebellion presented to his con- 
sideration. Although a radical peace man, how just 
was his attitude toward the men and the measures 
of the War for the Union. Nothing that he did 
evinced on his part greater tact or toleration than his 
admirable behavior iu this respect. To his eldest son, 
George Thompson, who was no adherent of the doc- 
trine of non-resistance, and who was commissioned by 
Governor Andrew, a second lieutenant in the Fifty- 
fifth Massachusetts Regiment, the pioneer wrote ex- 
pressing his regret that the young lieutenant had not 
been able " to adopt those principles of peace which 
are so sacred and divine to my soul, yet you will bear 
me witness that I have not laid a straw in your way 
to prevent your acting up to your own highest con- 
victions of duty." Such was precisely his attitude 
toward the North who, he believed, in waging war 
against the South for the maintenance of the Union, 
was acting up to her own highest convictions of duty. 
And not a straw would he place across her path, under 
those circumstances, though every step bore witness 
to one of the most gigantic and destructive wars in 

Garrison did not have to wait for posthumous ap- 
preciation from his countrymen. His steady and 
discriminating support of the Government, and his 
ardent sympathy with the arms of the North won him 
appreciation in his lifetime. Indeed, there came to him, 
if not popularity, something closely akin to it during 
the war. His visit to the capital in June, 1864, well 
illustrates the marvelous changes which had taken 
place in the Union touching himself and his cause. 
On his way to Washington the pioneer stopped over 



at Baltimore, which he had not revisited for thirty- 
four years, and where the Republican Convention, 
which renominated Lincoln was in session. He 
watched the proceedings from the gallery, and wit- 
nessed with indescribable emotions the enthusiastic 
demonstrations of joy with which the whole body of 
delegates greeted the radical anti-slavery resolution 
of the Convention. To the reformer it was " a full 
indorsement of all the Abolition fanaticism and 
incendiarism" with which he had been branded for 
years. The jail where he had been held a prisoner 
for seven weeks, like the evil which he had de- 
nounced, was gone, and a new one stood in its place, 
which knew not Garrison. In the court-house where 
he was tried and sentenced he was received by a 
United States judge as an illustrious visitor. Judge 
Bond hunted up the old indictment against the junior 
editor of the Genius of Universal E?nancipation, where 
it had lain for a generation, during which that guilt- 
less prisoner had started a movement which had 
shaken the nation by its mighty power, and slavery 
out of it. " Eight or nine of the original jurymen 
who gave the verdict against Mr. Garrison are still 
living," wrote Theodore Tilton, at the time, to the 
Independent, "and Judge Bond jocosely threatened to 
summon them all into Court, that Mr. Garrison might 
forgive them in public." 

At Washington the pioneer's reception seemed to 
him like a dream. And no wonder. He was heartily 
received by President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton. 
He was accorded the most marked attentions on the 
floor of both branches of Congress. On every side 
there rose up witnesses to the vastness of the revolu- 



tion which had taken place, and to the fact that the 
great Abolitionist was no longer esteemed an enemy 
of the Republic but one of its illustrious citizens. 
This was evinced in a signal and memorable manner 
a little later when the National Government extended 
to him an invitation to visit Fort Sumter as its guest 
on the occasion of the re-raising over it of the Stars 
and Stripes. He went, and so also went George 
Thompson, his lifelong friend and coadjutor, who 
was the recipient of a similar invitation from the 
Secretary of War. 

This visit of Mr. Garrison, taken in all its dramatic 
features, is more like a chapter of fiction, with its 
strange and improbable incidents and situations, than 
a story of real life.. The pioneer entered Georgia 
and trod the streets of Savannah, whose legislature 
thirty-three years before had set a price upon his 
head. In Charleston he witnessed the vast ruin which 
the war had wrought, realized how tremendous had 
been the death-struggle between Freedom and 
Slavery, and saw everywhere he turned that slavery 
was beaten, was dead in its proud, rebellious center. 
Thousands upon thousands of the people whose 
wrongs he had made his own, whose woes he had 
carried in his soul for thirty-five years, greeted him, 
their deliverer, in all stages of joy and thanksgiving. 
They poured out at his feet their overflowing love and 
gratitude. They covered him with flowers, bunches 
of jessamines, and honeysuckles and roses in the 
streets of Charleston, hard by the grave where Cal- 
houn lay buried. "'Only listen to that in Charleston 
streets ! ' exclaimed Garrison, on hearing the band of 
one of the black regiments playing the air of ' Old 



John Brown,' and we both broke into tears," relates 
Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, who stood by the side of 
the pioneer that April morning under the spire of 
St. Michael's church. 

" The Government has its hold upon the throat of 
the monster, slavery," Mr. Garrison assured an audi- 
ence of nearly four thousand freedmen, " and is 
strangling the life out of it." It was even so. Rich- 
mond had fallen, and Lee had surrendered. The 
early and total collapse of the rebellion was impend- 
ing. The Government was, indeed, strangling the 
life out of it and out of slavery, its cause and main- 
spring. The monster had, however, a crowning hor- 
ror to add to a long list of horrors before fetching its 
last gasp. The assassination of President Lincoln 
was the dying blow of slavery, aimed through him at 
the Union which he had maintained. Appalling as 
was the deed, it was vain, for the Union was saved, 
and liberty forever secured to the new-born nation. 
As Garrison remarked at the tomb of Calhoun, on 
the morning that Lincoln died, " Down into a deeper 
grave than this slavery has gone, and for it there is 
no resurrection." 



" Garrison," said George Thompson on the steamer 
which was conveying the Government party out of 
Charleston Harbor on their return trip; "Garrison 
you began your warfare at the North in the face of 
rotten eggs and brickbats. Behold you end it at 
Charleston on a bed of roses ! " The period of per- 
secution had indeed ended, the reign of missiles had 
ceased, but with the roses there came to the pioneer 
not a few thorns. Bitter was the sorrow which vis- 
ited him in the winter of 1863. Without warning his 
wife was on the night of December 29th, stricken with 
paralysis, which crippled her for the rest of her life. 
No words can adequately express all that she had 
been to the reformer in his struggle with slavery. 
She was a providential woman raised up to be the wife 
and helpmate of her husband, the strenuous man 
of God. " As a wife for a period of more 
than twenty-six years," he wrote her on the comple- 
tion of her fiftieth year, *'you have left nothing 
undone to smooth the rugged pathway of my public 
career — to render home the all-powerful magnet of 
attraction, and the focal point of domestic enjoy- 
ment — to make my welfare and happiness at all times 
a matter of tender solicitude — and to demonstrate the 
depth and fixedness of that love which you so long 




ago plighted to me. . . . Whatever of human 
infirmity we may have seen in each other, I believe 
few have enjoyed more unalloyed bliss in wedded 
life than ourselves." For twelve years after that sad 
December night the lovely invalid was the object of 
her husband's most tender and assiduous care. And 
when at last she left him in January, 1876, the lone- 
liness which fell upon his heart seemed more than he 
could bear. 

Differences with old associates was a grievous thorn 
which came to the pioneer during the progress of the 
war. The first marked disagreement between him 
and them occurred at the annual meeting of the Mas- 
sachusetts Anti-Slavery Society not a month after 
his wife's prostration. The clash came between the 
leader and his great coadjutor Wendell Phillips over 
a resolution introduced by the latter, condemning the 
Government and declaring its readiness ** to sacrifice 
the interest and honor of the North to secure a sham 
peace." Garrison objected to the severity of this 
charge. He believed that there was but one party at 
the North of which it was true, and that was the 
party of Copperheads. He endeavored, therefore, to 
modify the harshness of the resolution by giving it 
a more moderate tone. But the anti-Lincoln feeling 
of the Convention proved too strong for his resist- 
ance, and Mr. Phillips's resolution was finally adopted 
as the sentiment of the society. 

The discordant note thus struck grew sharper and 
louder during the year. The divergence of views in 
the ranks of the Abolitionists touching the Southern 
policy of the Administration grew wider, until the 
subject of Mr. Lincoln's renomination sundered the 



little band into two wings — one for renomination, 
headed by Garrison, the other against renomination, 
and led by Phillips. These differences presently 
developed into, if not positive antagonism, then some- 
thing closely akin to it between the two wings and 
the two leaders. No little heat was generated from 
the strong, sharp things said on both sides. Garrison 
was wiser than Phillips in his unwillingness to have 
the country, in the homely speech of the President, 

swap horses while crossing a stream." 

Serious differences of opinion sprang up also be- 
tween the two leaders and the two wings in relation 
to the proper time for dissolving the anti-slavery 
organizations. Garrison held on one side that this 
time had come with the adoption of the thirteenth 
amendment abolishing slavery, while Phillips held on 
the other that the societies should continue their 
operations until the negro was invested with the right 
to vote. And here it seems that Phillips was wiser 
than Garrison in his purpose not to abandon in 1865 
the old machinery for influencing public sentiment 
in the negro's interest. 

At the anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery 
Society, in May, 1865, Garrison contended for its dis- 
solution, declaring that " Nothing is more clear in 
my own mind, nothing has ever been more clear, than 
that this is the fitting time to dissolve our organi- 
zation, and to mingle with the millions of our fellow- 
countrymen in one common effort to establish justice 
and liberty throughout the land." For two days the 
debate upon this question raged in the convention, 
but when the vote was taken it was found that a large 
majority of the delegates agreed with Mr. Phillips. 



Mr. Garrison was, nevertheless, reelected President, 
but declined and withdrew from the society. The 
controversy was renewed at the annual meeting of the 
Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in January, 1866. 
But here again a large majority voted against disso- 
lution. Warm words fell from both Garrison and 
Phillips and their respective supporters, which tried 
sorely the friendship of the two leaders. 

In accordance with his views touching the discon- 
tinuance of the anti-slavery societies. Garrison dis- 
continued the publication of the Liberator after the 
completion of its thirty-fifth volume in December, 
1865. He did not mean by this act to cease his 
labors for the negro. Far from it. For he, like 
Phillips, stood for his absolute equality before the 
law. But he perceived that old things had passed 
away, and with them the need of the old instruments, 
and that what remained to be done for the black man 
required to be done with new means. " The object," 
said he in his valedictory, for which the Liberator 
was commenced, the extermination of chattel slavery, 
having been gloriously consummated, it seems to me 
specially appropriate to let its existence cover the 
historic period of the great struggle ; leaving what 
remains to be done to complete the work of emanci- 
pation to other instrumentalites (of which I hope to 
avail myself), under new auspices, with more abun- 
dant means, and with millions instead of hundreds 
for allies." 

With the discontinuance of the Liberator Garrison's 
occupation, from which he had derived a regular 
though somewhat uncertain income for the support 
of his family, was gone. He was not in destitute cir- 


cumstances, however, thanks to the generosity of 
friends, who had already secured him the home in 
Roxbury, where he spent the remaining years of his 
life. He had also been one of the legatees under the 
will of Charles F. Hovey, who left about forty thous- 
and dollars to the anti-slavery cause. But the age 
of the reformer, he was then sixty, and the state of 
his health, which was much impaired, together with 
the helplessness of his wife, made some provision for 
his and her support, other than the little which he 
possessed, a matter of anxious thought on the part 
of himself and his friends. He had given thirty-five 
years of his life to the public good. His services to 
his country and to the world were above all price, all 
money considerations. It was felt that to him who 
had given so much to the world, the world should in 
his need make some substantial acknowledgement in 

Some of his countrymen, accordingly, conceived 
the plan of a national testimonial to the philanthro- 
pist, which should ensure to him during the rest of 
his life a competence. 

A committee having this end in view was organ- 
ized March 28, 1866, at the house of Dr. Henry I. Bow- 
ditch. John A. Andrew, who was its chairman, wrote 
the address to the public, to which were appended 
the chief names in the politics and literature of the 
land. Nearly two years afterward, on March 10, 1868, 
the committee were able to place in Mr. Garrison's 
hands the handsome sum of thirty-one thousand dol- 
lars with a promise of possibly one or two thousand 
more a little later. To the energy and devotedness of 
one man, the Rev. Samuel May, Jr., more than to any 



Other, and perhaps than all others put together, this 
noble achievement was due. The pioneer was 
deeply moved at the high and generous character of 
the recognition accorded his labors. " Little, indeed, 
did I know or anticipate how prolonged or how viru- 
lent would be the struggle," said he in his reply to 
the committee, "when I lifted up the standard of 
immediate emancipation, and essayed to rouse the 
nation to a sense of its guilt and danger. But hav- 
ing put my hands to the plow, how could I look 
back? For, in a cause so righteous, I could not 
doubt that, having turned the furrows, if I sowed in 
tears I should one day reap in joy. But, whether 
permitted to live to witness the abolition of slavery 
or not, I felt assured that, as I demanded nothing 
that was not clearly in accordance with justice and 
humanity, sometime or other, if remembered at all, 
I should stand vindicated in the eyes of my country- 
men." The names of John Bright, John Stuart Mill, 
William E. Foster, and Samuel Morley, among the 
contributors to the fund, lent to the testimonial an 
international character. 

In May, 1867, Garrison went abroad the fourth 
time, and traveled in Great Britain and on the Con- 
tinent. Everywhere that he went he was received as 
an illustrious visitor and as a benefactor of mankind. 
At a breakfast in London which *'was intended to com- 
memorate one of the greatest of the great triumphs 
of freedom, and to do honor to a most eminent instru- 
ment in the achievement of that freedom," and at 
which were gathered the genius, the wealth, and 
aristocracy of England and Scotland, John Bright, 
who presided, welcomed the illustrious guest with 


a cordiality which knows no stint and no limit for 
him and for his noble associates, both men and 
women," and ventured to speak a verdict which he 
believed would be sanctioned by all mankind, viz., 
that William Lloyd Garrison and his fellow-labor- 
ers in that world's work — are they not 

" On Fame's eternal bead-roll worthy to be filed ? " 

With the discontinuance of the Liberator Garrison's 
active career came ^o a close. But his sympathetic 
interest in the freedmen, temperance, the cause of 
women, and in o^.ner reformatory enterprises con- 
tinued unabated. Ke watrhed with stern and vigi- 
lant eye, and bleeding heart the new rebellion at the 
South whose purpose was the nullification of the civil 
and political rights of the blacks, and the overthrow 
of the military' rule of the National Government in 
the Southern States. He did not see what time has 
since made clear that a genuine reconstruc- 
tion of the South, and the ultimate solution of 
the Southern problem had, in accordance with 
social laws, to proceed from within, from the South 
itself, not from without and from Washington. The 
old fire again burned in his speech as tidings of the 
violence of :he whites and the sufferings of the blacks 
reached him from the former slave section. Indeed, 
the last written word: oJ h.s. addressed to the public, 
were words in defence of :.he i'ace to whose freedom 
he had devoted his life — words which, trumpet- 
tongued raised anew the rallying-cry of " Liberty and 
equal rights for each, for all, and for ever, wherever 
the lot of man is cast within our broad domains ! " 

True to his grand motto " My country is the world ! 
my countrymen are all mankind," he espoused the 



cause of the Chinese, and denounced the National pol- 
icy of excluding them on the ground of race from the 
republic but a few months before his death. The anti- 
Chinese movement appeared to him ** narrow, con- 
ceited, selfish, anti-human, anti-Christian." "Against 
this hateful spirit of caste," wrote the dying philan- 
thropist, I have earnestly protested for the last fifty 
years, wherever it has developed itself, especially in 
the case of another class, for many generations still 
more contemned, degraded, and oppressed ; and the 
time has fully come to deal with it as an offence to 
God, and a curse to the world wherever it se^ks to 
bear sway." 

On the same grand principle of human fraternity 
Mr, Garrison dealt with the questions of trade and 
tariffs also. He believed in liberty, civil, religious, 
and commercial. He was in fact a radical free trader 
on moral and humanitary grounds. " He is the most 
sagacious political economist," was a remark of his, 
** who contends for the highest justice, the most far- 
reaching equality, a close adherence to natural laws, 
and the removal of all those restrictions which foster 
national pride and selfishness." And here is another 
like unto it : Believing that the interests of the 
American people in no wise materially differ from 
those of the people of any other country, and denying 
the rectitude or feasibility of building ourselves up 
at their expense by an exclusive policy, obstructing 
the natural flow of material exchanges, I avow my- 
self to be a radical free trader, even to the extent of 
desiring the abolition of all custom-houses, as now 
constituted, throughout the world. That event is far 
distant, undoubtedly, but I believe it will come with 



the freedom and enlightenment of mankind. My 
faith is absolute that it will prove advantageous to 
every branch of industry, whether at home or abroad.** 
The closing years of the reformer's life were years 
of great bodily suffering. A disease of the kidneys 
and a chronic catarrh of the head made steady 
inroads upon the res urces of his constitution, made 
life at times a wheel ^ i which he was racked with 
physical tortures, aL of which he bore with the ut- 
most fortitude and serenity of spirit. "The longer I 
live, the longer I desire to live," he wrote Samuel J. 
May, "and the more I see the desirableness of living; 
yet certainly not in this frail body, but just as it shall 
please the dear Father of us all." One by one he 
saw the little band of which he was leader dwindle 
as now one and now another dropped by the way. 
And it was he or Mr. Phillips, or both, who spoke the 
last loving words over their coffins. As the little 
band passed on to the unseen country, a new joy 
awoke in the soul of the leader left behind, the joy of 
anticipation, of glad reunion beyond the grave. " How 
unspeakably pleasant it will be to greet them, and to 
be greeted by them on the other side of the line," it 
seemed to him as he, too, began to descend toward 
the shore of the swift, silent river. The deep, sweet 
love for his mother returned with youthful freshness 
and force to him, the man of seventy-three years, at 
the thought of coming again into her presence. A 
strange yearning was tu^^^ing at his heart for all the 
dear ones gone before. The fond mother, who had 
watched over his childhood and the fond wife, who 
had been the stay of his m^.i.ho'^d, were the first two 
whom he yearned to meet afi- r crossing the river 



The joyous thought of his approaching meeting 
with those white-souled women cheered and com- 
forted the reformer amid excruciating physical suffer- 
ings. Worn out by heroic and Herculean labors for 
mankind and by a complication of diseases, he more 
and more longed for rest, to go home to beloved 
ones as he expressed it. To the question, What do 
you want, Mr. Garrison ?" asked by the attending 
physician on the day before his death, he replied, 
weariedly, " To finish it up !" And this he did at the 
home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Villard, in New 
York, in the midst of children and grandchildren, 
near midnight, on May 24, 1879. 

" While that ear could listen," said Wendell 
Phillips over the illustrious champion of liberty as 
he lay dead in the old church in Roxbury; "While 
that ear could listen, God gave what he has rarely 
given to man, the plaudits and prayers of four mil- 
lions of victims." But as he lay there he had, besides, 
the plaudits and praise of an emancipated nation. 
The plaudits and praise of an emancipated race, min- 
gling melodiously with those of an emancipated nation 
made noble music about his bier. In the city, where 
forty-three years before he was mobbed, the flags 
floated at half-mast in his honor ; and on Beacon 
Hill, where the Government once desired his destruc- 
tion, the voice of appreciation was heard and tokens 
of the State's sorrow met the eye. Great in life 
great also in death was William Lloyd Garrison. 
" Men of a thousand shifts and wiles, look here ! 
See one straightforward conscience put in pawn 
To win a world ; see the obedient sphere 
By bravery's simple gravitation drawn ! 



Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old, 
And by the present's lips repeated still, 
In our own single manhood to be bold, 
Fortressed in conscience and impregnable will ? " 


Adams, Charles Francis, 372. 
Adams, John Quincy, 54, 250-251. 
Adams, Nehemiah, 278 
Adams, William, 292. 
Alcott, A. Bronson, 90, 91, 134, 

American Anti-Slavery Society, 174, 311, 340, 373, 387. 

Andover Seminary, 190. 

Andrew, John A., 381, 389. 

Annexation of Texas, 335. 

Anti-Slavery Standard, 299. 

Atchison, David, 338, 374. 

Attucks, Crispus, 227. 

Bacon, Leonard W., 162. 

Bartlett, Ezekiel, 18, 20. 

Beecher, Lyman, no, in, 161, 189, 190, 269. 

Benson, George, 194, 263. 

Benson, George W., 168, 178, 234, 260, 281. 

Benson, Henry E., 212, 263. 

Benton, Thomas H., 105-106, 252, 253, 

Bird, Frank W., 361. 

Birney, James G., 203, 298, 320. 

Bond, Judge, 382. 

Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, 217, 233, 240. 
Bourne, Rev. George, 108, 203. 



Bowditch, Henry I., 233, 349, 389. 
Bright, John, 390, 391. 
Brooks, Preston S., 359. 
Brown, John, 365-368. 
Buffum, Arnold, 139, 177. 
Burleigh, Charles C, 221, 223, 235. 
Buxton, Thomas Fowcll, 152, 154, 204. 

Calhoun, John C, 246. 252, 315, 335, 336, 337, 352, 353, 384. 

Campbell, John Reid, 225. 

Channing, Dr. W. E., no, 1 1 1, 256, 316. 

Chapman, Maria Weston, 223, 258, 259, 277, 292. 

Chase, Salmon P., 338. 

Child, David Lee, 134, 136, 138, 203. 

Child, Lydia Maria, 186, 203, 210, 277, 292, 309. 

Clay, Henry, 339, 348. 

Clerical Appeal, 282. 

Clarkson, Thomas, 155, 303. 

Coffin, Joshua, 139, 198. 

Cobb, Howell, 338. 

Collier, Rev. William, 40. 

Collins, John A., 298, 299, 300, 303. 

Colonization Society, 60, 72, 144-156, 162. 

Colored Seaman, 313-314. 

Colorphobia, 157-169. 

Colver, Nathaniel, 303. 

Commercial Advertiser, New York, 170. 

Courier, Boston, 128, 129, 217. 

Courier and Enquirer, New York, 171. 

Corvvin, Thomas, 372. 

Cox, Abraham L., 185, 203, 209. 

Crandall, Prudence, 165-168, 199. 

Cresson, Elliott, 150, 151, 153. 

Cropper, James, 154, 205. 

Curtin, Andrew G., 372. 

Curtis, Benjamin R., 354. 

Cuyler, Rev. Theodore L., 384. 



Davis, Jefferson, 338, 376. 

Disunion Convention at Worcester. 361-363. 

Dole, Ebenezer, 86. 

Douglas, Stephen A., 353, 365. 

Douglass, Frederick, 300, 344. 

Dred Scott Case, 364. 

Duncan, Rev. James, 108-109. 

Emancipator, The, 283, 285, 286, 328. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 281. 
Evening Post, New York, 208. 
Everett, Edward, 30, 31, 243, 244. 

Farnham, Martha, 16. 
Fessenden, Samuel, 141, 148. 
Follen, Prof. Charles, 201, 203, 247. 
Forten, James, 144. 
Foster, Stephen S., 310, 375. 
Foster, William E., 390. 
Fremont, John C, 361. 
Free Press, 27, 34. 

Fugitive Slave Law, effect of, 345-347. 

Fugitive Slaves, The Crafts, Shadrach, Sims, Burns, 349. 

Fuller, John E., 219. 

Furness, Rev. W. H., 344. 

Garrison, Abijah, 12-15, 
Garrison, Charles Follen, 331-332. 
Garrison, Francis Jackson, 330. 
Garrison, George Thompson, 381. 

Garrison, Helen Eliza, 194-196, 219, 297, 331, 385-386, 
Garrison, James, 19, 20, 302-303. 
Garrison, Joseph, 11, 12. 
Garrison, Wendell Phillips, 297. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, Early years, 1 1-26 ; Publishes Free 
Press, 27-34 ; seeks work in Boston, 35 ; nominates Harri- 
son Gray Otis for Congress, 35-36 ; temperance and the 



Philanthropisi, 39-44 ; meets Lundy, '44 ; early attitude on 
the slavery question, 46-50 ; on war, 51; first experience with 
ministers on the subject of slavery, 52 ; Anti-slavery Com- 
mittee of twenty, 53 ; goes to Bennington, Vt., to edit the 
Journal of the Times, 54-55 ; monster anti-slavery petition 
to Congress, 55 ; anticipates trouble with the South, 56; 
begins to preach freedom, 56-57 ; agrees to help Lundy 
edit the Genius of Universal Emancipation, 58; Congre- 
gational Societies of Boston invite him to deliver Fourth- 
of-July oration, 60; the address, 61-67; goes to Baltimore, 
69; raises the standard of immediate emancipation, 70; 
Lundy and he agree to differ, 71 ; defends Free People of 
Color, 73-74 ; makes acquaintance with barbarism of slavery, 
74 ; ship Francis and Francis Todd, 75-77 ; prosecuted and 
imprisoned, 77-83 ; released, 83 ; visits the North, 84 ; 
returns to Baltimore but leaves it again for good, 87 ; lec- 
tures on slavery, 88-91; character, 92-94; incarnation of 
immediate emancipation, 109; Dr. Lyman Beeclfer, iio-iii ; 
difficulties in the way of publishing the Liberator, 11 2-1 15; 
his method of attacking slavery, 118; he is heard, 120; Wal- 
ker's appeal, 121-122; Nat Turner, 125-126; southern ex- 
citement, 127-128; New England Anti-Slavery Society, 
137-138; appointed agent, 141 ; thoughts on African coloni- 
zation, 143-150; first visit to England, 152-156; Mr. Bux- 
ton's mistake, 152; prejudice against color, 157; Prudence 
Crandall, 166, 168 ; organization of New York City Anti- 
Slavery Society and beginning of the mob period, 170-172 ; 
formation of American Anti-Slavery Society, 174-185; dec- 
laration of sentiments, 182-184; increased agitation, 185-186; 
marriage, 193; the wife, 194-196; poverty of the Liberator, 
197-200; the paper displeases friends. 201-204; George 
Thompson, 204-206; Faneuil Hall meeting to put the Abol- 
itionists down, 211-215; gallows for two, 215-216; the 
Broad-Cloth Mob, 218-232 ; Thompson leaves the countr)-, 
238; appears before a committee of Massachusetts legis- 
lature, 245-246; Pennsylvania Hall, 257-260; Marlboro 
Chapel, 260-261 ; ill health, 263 ; Educational Convention of 


anti-slavery agents, 264-265 ; the Sabbath question, 265-272; 
The woman's question, 273-280; clerical appeal, 282-285; 
anti-slavery political action, 286-288 ; conflict between the 
New York and the Boston boards, 289-291 ; the World's Con- 
vention, 292-295 ; visit to Scotland, 295-296 ; in the lecture 
field, 300-301 ; his brother James, 302-303 ; meets charges 
of infidelity, 303-304 ; Irish Address, 304-305 ; no union wnth 
slaveholders, 306-312; Texas agitation, 316-318; dislikes 
Liberty party, 319-323; some characteristics, 326-334; the 
Rynders Mob, 340-344 ; publicly burns the United States 
Constitution, 354; answers objections to his disunionism, 
362-363 ; Harper's Ferry, 365-367 ; secession : first attitude 
to it, 370-373 ; second attitude, 373 ; adapts himself to cir- 
cumstances, 373-381 ; Lincoln and emancipation, 379; visits 
Baltimore, Washington, Charleston, 381-384; illness and 
death of his wife, 385-386 ; differences with anti-slavery 
associates, 386-388 ; discontinues the Liberator, 388 ; 
national testimonial, 389-390; fourth visit to England, 390- 
391 ; champions cause of Southern negroes, 391 ; champions 
cause of Chinese, 392 ; believes in Free Trade, 392-393 ; 
illness and death, 393-395. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, Jr., 297. 

Gazette, Boston, 217. 

Genius of Universal Emancipation, 58, 69, 71-75. 

Gibbons, James S., 309. 

Giddings, Joshua R., 338. 

Goodell, William, 149, 203, 247, 248. 

Green, William, Jr., 184. 

Grimke, Angelina E., 235, 258-259. 

Grimke, Sisters, 275-280. 

Hale, John P., 338, 350. 

Hamilton, Alexander, 104. 

Hamlin, Hannibal, 338. 

Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 294, 295. 

Hayne, Robert Y., 209. 

Herald, Newburyport, 21, 26. 



Herald, New York, 340, 341. 
Higginson, T. W., 358-359, 361. 
Hoar, Samuel, 314. 
Horton, Jacob, 61. 
Hovey, Charles F., 389. 

Jackson, Francis, 233, 240-241, 311-312, 317, 341, 344, 

Jewett, Daniel E., 175. 

Jocelyn, Rev. Simeon Smith, 203. 

Johnson, Andrew, 380. 

Johnson, Oliver, 114, 134, 137, 139, 160-161, 374. 
Journal, Camden (S. C), 128. 
Journal, Louisville (Ky.), 120. 

Kansas, Struggle over, 357-358. 
Kelley, Abby, 259, 291, 310. 
Kimball, David T., 175. 

Knapp, Isaac, 113, 127, 139, 197, 200, 265, 301-302. 
Kneeland, Abner, 90, 268. 

Lane Seminary, 189, 
Latimer, George, 312. 
Leavitt, Joshua, 149,320. 329. 
Leggett, Samuel. 86. 

Liberator, The, 11 1-20, 126-29, 131, 141, 163, 165, 169. 176, 

197-204, 236, 237, 265, 284, 297, 327-329. 388. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 365, 370, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 382, 384. 
Lloyd, Fanny, 13-20, 24-26, 44-45. 
Longfellow, Stephen, 148. 
Loring, Edward Greeley. 354. 
Loring, Ellis Grey, 134, 135 136. 138, 245, 264. 
Lovejoy, Elijah P., 254-257. 
Lowell, James Russell, 136, 329. 
Lumpkin, Wilson, 128. 

Lundy, Benjamin, 44, 45, 46,48-54, 57, 58, 69, 71, 72, 75, 108. 

Lunt, George, 244 247, 248. 
Lyman, Theodore. 223, 224. 227, 228, 


Macaulay, Zachary, 154. 
Malcolm, Rev. Howard, 52. 
Martineau, Harriet, 94, 240. 
Mason, James M., 338. 
Mason, Jeremiah, iii. 

Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 265, 280, 297, 310. 
Mathev^', Father, 304, 305. 
May, Samuel, Jr., 325, 389. 

May, Samuel J., 90, 93, 94, 134, 166, 167, 179, 180, 186,199, 

245, 272, 289, 393. 
McDowell, James, 124, 125. 
McKim, James Miller, 149. 
McDuffie, Governor, 243, 246. 
Mercury, Charleston, 126, 
Mill, John Stuart, 390. 
Missouri Compromise, Repeal of, 352-354. 
Moore, Esther, 259. 
Morley, Samuel, 390, 
Mott, Lucretia, 178,259, 292, 293. 

National Intelligencer, 1 28, 

New England Anti-Slavery Society, 1 37-141, 200, 280, 311. 
New England Spectator, 282. 
Newman, Prof. Francis W., 378. 

O'Connell, Daniel, 154, 170, 171, 304. 

Otis, Harrison Gray, 35,129, 130, 131,213, 214, 215. 

Palmer, Daniel, 11. 

Palmer, Mary, 11, 12. 

Parker, Mar>' S., 222, 234, 

Parker, Theodore, 121,349,350, 362. 

Pastoral Letter, 277. 

Paxton, Rev. J. D., 186. 

Pease, Elizabeth, 303, 331, 346. 

Pennsylvania Hall, 257-260. 

Phelps, Amos A., 149, 186, 203, 278, 280, 288. 



Phillips Academy (Andover), 190. 
Phillips, Ann Green, 292, 293. 

Phillips, Wendell, 190, 257, 310, 317, 323, 326, 344, 346-347, 

349. 351. 386, 387. 388, 393^394. 
Pillsbury, Parker, 310, 
Prentice, George D., 120. 
Purvis, Robert, 144, 162, 178. 

Quincy, Edmund, 299, 310, 316, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327-329. 
Quincy, Josiah, 347. 

Rankin, John, 177. 

Remond, Charles Lenox, 293, 295, 304. 
Rhett, Barnwell, 338. 
Rogers, Nathaniel P., 149, 293, 295, 301. 
Rynders, Isaiah, 341-344. 

Scoble, Rev. John, 294. 

Sewall, Samuel E., 90, 91, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 175, 236, 367. 

Seward, William H., 338, 372. 

Shaw, Chief-Justice, 312. 

Slavery, Rise and Progress of, 95-107, 

Smith, Gerritt, 147, 236, 297, 320. 

Sprague, Peleg, 213, 214. 

Stanton, Edwin M., 382. 

Stanton, Henry B., 2 53, 288. 

Stearns, Charles, 359. 

Stevens, Thaddeus, 338. 

Stuart, Charles, 201, 202, 264. 

Sumner, Charles, 234, 317, 339, 346, 359, 

Tappan, Arthur, 83, 84, 164, 171, 184, 209, 210. 
Tappan, Lewis, 149 177, 201, 209, 283, 285. 
Texas Agitation, 314-318. 

Thompson, George, 204-206, 210,212, 213, 216, 217, 218,238, 

294. 295, 351.383. 385. 
Thurston, David, 180. 


Tilton, Theodore, 382. 

Todd, Francis, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82, 87. 

Toombs, Robert, 338. 

Travis, Joseph, 124. 

Turner, Nat., 124-125. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, 351-352. 

Villard, Mrs. Henry, 394. 

Walker, David, 121, 122, 123, 126. 

Ward, Rev. Samuel R., 344. 

Ware, Rev. Henry, Jr., 203. 

We jb, Richard D., 310, 316, 318, 326. 

Webster, Daniel, 35, loi, no, iii, 117, 249, 338, 339, 347.348, 

Weld, Theodore D., 149, 190, 264, 279. 
Wesley, John, 70, 107. 
White, Nathaniel H., 41. 
Whitney, Eli, 98. 

Whittier, John Greenleaf, 34, 175, 179, 186, 202, 234, 279, 320. 
Wilberforce, William, 152, 154. 
Winslow, Isaac, 177. 
Winslow, Nathan, 177. 

Wright, Elizur, 147, 149, 185, 186, 202, 210, 283-285, 287, 320. 
Yerrington, James B., 113, 


The Public Ledger, Philadelphia, says : " Ro- 
mance pales its feeble fires before the reotal of the 
plain facts In Howe's adventurous career , . . Mr. 
Sanborn's friendship with Dr. Howe for over 20 years 
enabled him to catch the personal and conAdential 
tone indispeneable to the troe biography/ 

Dr. SamM G# Howe 

By r. B. SANBORN. 


370 pp. With Portrait. Price, 
$1.50. Post-free. 

Among the great motive powers of the world are 
enthusiasm and courage ; and the world has pro- 
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strikingly exemplified than in Dr. 8. G. Howe. Among 
his triumphs Is the remarkable achievement of bringing 
Laura Brldgman, the deaf, dumb, and blind New 
Hampshire child, into Intellectual and splrltoal com- 
munion with mankind. 

** In this biography we have a volume of Interest, 
information, and inspiration. "—TfcaJIforningr Star, 

Of great value : •* As a contribution to the history 

of the growth and life of the American people, this 
book is of great value.'' — The Christian Union, 
New York. 

Everything Is well told : " For nearly half a cen- 
tury there were but few philanthropic enterprises of 
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assistance from Dr. S. G. Howe. ... He was at the 
front of all efforts made in this country in aid of the 
oppressed of other lands. . . . All this Is well told by 
F. B. Sanborn in this book."— T/ie Neuf York 


The Pott JEanprM0, Rochester, N. Y., mjb : 
" Thia [b a cbannisg volume. . . . Issaee of d&UodaI 
Import are here dlscaased iDcideDUl to Mr. Doagla«8* 
penonnel, which are far-reaching and whose troMl 

I will be part of the twentieth century Intcrects for 

I the world." 

Frederick Douglass 



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and Intense Interest."— Th4 

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" The book Is extremely and etrangly InterestiDg ; 
with it once in hand, one will continue for houre when 
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Can rest contented : "With the scrupulous justice 
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The Courier- Journal, Louisville, Ky., saya : 
"Tuie book is a fascinating one for the student, the 
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fumisheB an invigorating study for embryo pablic 
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"An intensely interesting; biography of this 
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The proof : " Our reading of this life brings back 
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used to produced . . . This fact proves decisively the 
high merit of the biography."— «/o«f2>^ Cook, in 
Ou7' Day, Boston. 

"Or&cetully and even lovinglv written by Carlos 
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throughout the entire book, in which are many facts 
aud incidents with which are linked such names as 
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Horace Greeley 


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"All in all it is the beet enmmlne up of the life and 
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"I am especially pleased with the chaptera relat- 
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Selections from • 

* Joseph Addison 

Introduction by C. T. Winchester, Pro- 
fessor of English Literature in Wesleyan 
University. (Companion Volume to Oliver 
Goldsmith; A Selection from His Works.) 

The Lutheran Observer Bays : 

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Ing literary periodical of ttie Euglieh-speakiug world, 
and the writings of Addison were itt* chief attraction. 
These have been English classics for more than a cen- 
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essays will be a source of pleasure and instruction." 

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essayist, w ho to thousands of readers has been the 
delight of their youth, the mentor of their manhood, 
ana the solace of their declining years. Asa satirist, 
of social foUits and foiblea, he is still without a rival. 
... In chiding the vices of his time, he so blended 
reproof with sportive wit that the very ob^ecta of hia 
censure must have joined in the lau^^h which he pro- 
voked at their expense. . . 

Contents: Introduction; Mr. Spectator and Hla 
Paper; Society, Fashions, Minor Morals; Literary and 
Critical Topics; Morals and Religion. 

lamo. Cloth. 175 pp. With Portrait Prlc«. 

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TTie Commereial Gaxntte, Cincinnati, mjs : 
"This volume contains considerable matter neT«r 
before DO bllahed, is fall of fascinating reading, and U 
of iDOTQinabla hlatorlc value." 

John Brown • 
• And His Men ! 

wira soiui aocount or ths uoadb thbt tkavbud 



^ ▲ Contempurary of John Brown. 

laaio. Cloth ; 75a pp.; Portraits. Prlc«. 
$1.50. Po5t-froc. 

In an Appendix are f;iven the principal and more 
Important documents prepared by John Brown, or 
relating directly to the enterprises ajralnst American 
slavery in which he was actively engaged ; alao a 

copious Index to the volume. 

Akaoostia, D. C, Ckdar ITrLL. Feb. 11, 1996. 
My DkajiColoxzl IIinton: 

Your riistory of the raid upon Harper's Ferry, by 
John Brown and his men, leavt-m nothing in that line 
to bo desired. . . . You were in the center of the 
circle, and hence have bad an inside view of the whola 
transaction. You have done for John Brown and his 
men, and for the truth of history, a ma^ificent 
■errioe. FrniTick Douglas*. 

Mt Dxam CoLoicxL HiKTOM : ^" 

Your work on ' John Brown and His Men ' Is moct 
strongly and vividly done. In fact, >s herever I open 
the book, I And it alive with the undying Interest of 
the greatest hour of our historr. Perhaps mankind 
must yet make another strupgle; but so far Brown 
remains the hero of the supreme endeavor for freedom, 
and this is what you make your readers feci, without 
weakening any fact concerning him. 

William I>ean UoxetHla.